Essential Books on Jewish Thought

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Contemporary Jewish Theology: A Reader, edited by Elliot N. Dorff and Louis E. Newman (Oxford University Press). Here is an introduction to Jewish thought in bite-size pieces. This fine collection offers good tastes of the writings of great Jewish theologians of the early 20th century (such as Martin Buber, Mordecai Kaplan, and Abraham Joshua Heschel), with contemporary reflections on major themes from creation to Israel.

The Future of Jewish Theology, by Steven Kepnes (Wiley-Blackwell). For theologian Kepnes, nothing is more important in the future of Jewish religion than holiness: holiness in ethics, prayer, prophecy, study, human relations, and ritual time and space. This is an elegant and compassionate journey into the Jewish spirit.

New Jewish Feminism: Probing the Past, Forging the Future, by Elyse Goldstein (Jewish Lights). The past few decades have seen remarkable changes in the place and role of women in Judaism. Reflection on those changes offers one of the most important sources of insight into Judaism today. …