The Best of JPS

Below is a list of the ‘Best of JPS’ by subject. It includes classic JPS references, followed by suggestions for courses based on some of our best books.

We hope you enjoy this resource, and if you do plan on teaching a class with a JPS book, please let us know. We may even want to profile the course in a future newsletter.

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#1 Teaching the Bible

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JPS Classic References:

  1. JPS TANAKH
    Available in various sizes, colors, and styles in both Hebrew-English and English-only editions. English-only version is also available through most e-book vendors. Customer Guide to Choosing Your Bible.
  1. JPS Torah Commentary
    Genesis (Nahum M. Sarna), Exodus (Nahum M. Sarna), Leviticus (Baruch A. Levine), Numbers (Jacob Milgrom), Deuteronomy (Jeffrey H. Tigay)
  1. JPS Bible Commentary
    Five Torah volumes (above) plus these additional six volumes:
    Jonah (Uriel Simon), Ecclesiastes (Michael V. Fox), Esther (Adele Berlin), Ruth (Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Tikva Frymer-Kensky), Song of Songs-NEW (Michael Fishbane)
  1. The Commentators’ Bible The Rubin JPS Miqra’ot Gedolot
    Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy-NEW, Genesis to be published in 2018 Edited, translated and annotated by Michael Carasik 
  1. Legends of the Jews (2 vols.)
    By Louis Ginzberg

Other worthy references:

  1. The Jewish Bible: A JPS Guide
  2. Who’s Who in the Jewish Bible (David Mandel)
  3. How to Read the Bible (Marc Brettler) 

Course Suggestions:

Course  Title Suggested Text
1. A History of the Bible The Divine Symphony: The Bible’s Many Voices
(Israel Knohl)
2. The Bible as Literature The Bible’s Many Voices
(Michael Carasik)
3. The Bible’s Strangest Stories From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths & Legends
(Avigdor Shinan and Yair Zakovitch)
4. The World of the Torah Torah Through Time: Understanding Bible Commentary from Rabbinic Period to Modern Times
(Shai Cherry)
5. The Lost Scriptures Outside the Bible: Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture 3 vols. (Louis H. Feldman, James L. Kugel, Lawrence H. Schiffman, eds.)
6. Questions from the Bible Eight Questions of Faith: Biblical Challenges That Guide and Ground Our Lives
(Niles Goldstein)
7. Kabbalah and the Bible The Aura of Torah: A Kabbalistic-Hasidic Commentary to the Weekly Readings
(Rabbi Larry Tabick)
8. Hasidism and the Bible The Language of Truth: The Torah Commentary on the Sefat Emet
(Arthur Green)
9. Matriarchs The Lost Matriarch: Finding Leah in the Bible and Midrash
(Jerry Rabow)
10. Patriarchs The Gods Are Broken: The Hidden Legacy of Abraham
(Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin)

#2 Teaching Rabbinic Judaism

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Course Suggestions:

Course  Title Suggested Text
1. Introduction to Talmud Swimming in the Sea of Talmud
(Michael Katz and Gershon Schwartz)
2. Stories from the Talmud A Bride for One Night
(Ruth Calderon)
3. Ethics from the Talmud Pirke Avot
(William Berkson)
4. Midrash Searching for Meaning in Midrash
(Michael Katz and Gershon Schwartz)
5. Akiva  Akiva: Life, Legend, Legacy
(Reuven Hammer)
6. Kabbalah A Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism Reader
(Daniel Horwitz)
7. Maimonides Maimonides and the Book That Changed Judaism (Micah Goodman)
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest (David Hartman)
8. Maimonides II The Epistles of Maimonides
(Abraham Halkin)
9. Mussar The Lost Matriarch: Finding Leah in the Bible and Midrash
(Moses Hayyim Luzzato, Ira F. Stone, Mordechai M. Kaplan)
10. Haggadah A Passover Haggadah: Go Forth and Learn
(Rabbi David Silber with Rachel Furst)

Other classic rabbinic texts:

  1. Mekhilta-de-Rabbi Ishmael (2 vols.) (Jacob Lauterbach)
  2. Mekhilta-de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai (W. David Nelson)
  3. Tanna Debe Eliyyahu: The Lore of the School of Elijah (William Braude)
  4. The Book of Tradition: Sefer ha-Qabbalah (Gershom Cohen)
  5. Jewish Law: History, Sources, Principles (4 vols.) (Menachem Elon)
  6. The JPS Commentary on the Haggadah: Go Forth and Learn  (Rabbi David Silber) 

#3 Teaching Modern Jewish Thought

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JPS Classic References:

20th Century Jewish Religious Thought (Arthur A. Cohen and Paul Mendes-Flohr, eds.)

Course Suggestions:

Course  Title Suggested Text
1. Orthodox Judaism Halakhic Man
(Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik)
Modern Orthodox Judaism: A Documentary History
(Zev Eleff)
2. Conservative Judaism Sacred Fragments: Recovering Theology for the Modern Jew
(Neil Gilman)
3. Reform Judaism The New Reform Judaism 
(Rabbi Dana Evan Kaplan)
The Rise of Reform Judaism: A Sourcebook of Its European Origins
(W. Gunther Plaut)
The Growth of Reform Judaism: American and European Sources
(W. Gunther Plaut)
4. Reconstructionist Judaism Judaism as a Civilization: Toward a Reconstruction of American-Jewish Life
(Mordecai Kaplan)
5. Covenant Theology Renewing the Covenant: A Theology of the Postmodern Jew (Eugene Borowitz)
6. Feminist Theology Engendering Judaism: An Inclusive Theology and Ethics
(Rachel Adler)
7. Zionism The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader
(Arthur Hertzberg)
8. Jewish Debates Judaism’s Great Debates: Timeless Controversies from Abraham to Herzl
(Rabbi Barry L. Schwartz)
9. Jewish Spirituality The Heart of the Matter: Studies in Jewish Mysticism and Theology
(Arthur Green)
10. Jewish Challenges Jewish Meaning in a World of Choice: Studies in Tradition and Modernity
(David Ellenson)

#4 Teaching Jewish Ethics
(coming soon…)