Suggested Reading & Resources

A woman reading a book in the library

Torah and Text

Study of Jewish text is a foundation of rabbinic growth. We encourage applicants to come in with a base of knowledge in Torah and an awareness of rabbinic texts, including their historical context. Before you start rabbinical school, start asking deep questions of text. Get to know yourself as an interpreter and meaning maker. Be honest about what you don’t know but yearn to learn. Suggested Resources:


  • Berlin, Adele, Marc Zvi Brettler, and Michael Fishbane, eds. 2004. The Jewish Study Bible: Featuring The Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation. First Thus edition. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Eskenazi, Tamara Cohn, and Andrea L. Weiss, eds. 2007. The Torah: A Women’s Commentary. New York: URJ Press.
  • Halbertal, Moshe. 1997. People of the Book: Canon, Meaning, and Authority. 0 edition. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
  • Plaskow, Judith. 2009. Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible. Edited by Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Shneer. 1st Edition. New York: NYU Press.
  • Visotzky, Burton L. 2005. Reading the Book: Making the Bible a Timeless Text. 1st edition. Philadelphia: JEWISH PUBLICATION SOCIETY.
  • Levy, Rabbi Richard. 2018. Songs Ascending: The Book of Psalms in a New Translation with Textual and Spiritual Commentary. 15th edition. New York, NY: CCAR Press.

Rabbinic Literature:

  • Calderon, Dr Ruth. 2014. A Bride for One Night: Talmud Tales. Translated by Ilana Kurshan. Reprint edition. Lincoln : Philadelphia: JEWISH PUBLICATION SOCIETY.
  • Fonrobert, Charlotte Elisheva, and Martin S. Jaffee, eds. 2007. The Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature. First Edition. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Holtz, Barry W., ed. 1986. Back To The Sources: Reading the Classic Jewish Texts. Reprint edition. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
  • Kraemer, David. 1990. The Mind of the Talmud: An Intellectual History of the Bavli. 1st edition. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Neusner, Jacob. 1999. Introduction to Rabbinic Literature. Yale University Press.
  • Rubenstein, Jeffrey L. 2018. The Land of Truth: Talmud Tales, Timeless Teachings. Philadelphia: JEWISH PUBLICATION SOCIETY.
  • Wimpfheimer, Barry Scott. 2018. The Talmud: A Biography. Princeton ; Oxford: Princeton University Press.


Hebrew Language and Literature

To fully function in our programs, a foundation in Hebrew is required and the ability to write in Hebrew script is required. More than that though, reflect on your connection to the Hebrew language in general. What role does it play in Jewish culture, life – and in your own practice?

Practically speaking, work towards at least two semesters of college-level Hebrew or its equivalent in adult learning environments or Ulpanim. Already there? Hebrew language growth is a constant process, so continue to further develop your Hebrew skills and know that there’s always more to learn. Suggested Resources:

Hebrew Language:

  • Chayat, Shlomit. 2019. Hebrew from Scratch: Part 1. 2019th edition. Magnes Press/Academon
  • Ringvald, Vardit, Bonit Porath, Yaron Peleg, Esther Shorr, and Sara Hascal. 2015. Brandeis Modern Hebrew. 1st edition. Brandeis University Press.

Hebrew Literature:

  • Benstein, Jeremy. 2019. Hebrew Roots, Jewish Routes. Illustrated edition. Millburn, New Jersey: Behrman House.
  • Rubner, Tuvya, Robert Alter, David Mirsky, Dan Pagis, Arieh Sachs, Abraham Huss, Lea Goldberg, et al. 2003. The Modern Hebrew Poem Itself: A New and Updated Edition. Edited by Stanley Burnshaw, T. Carmi, Ariel Hirschfeld, and Ezra Spicehandler. 2nd edition. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.

Avodat HaLev/Habits of the Heart: Mitzvot, Practice and Spiritual Seeking

Who am I? Why am I here? Where do I belong? What spiritual practices anchor and guide your process of answering these questions? What rituals create grounding and meaning in your life? How do you contextualize those practices, reflections, and rituals Jewishly? To thrive in our program you are a seeker, continually yearning to deepen your understanding, expand your questions and search for meaningful practices that reflect your values. Suggested Resources:

Jewish Practice, Prayer and Spirituality:

  • Hammer, Reuven. 1995. Entering Jewish Prayer: A Guide to Personal Devotion and the Worship Service. New York: Schocken.
  • Heschel, Abraham Joshua, and Susannah Heschel. 2005. The Sabbath. Illustrated edition. New York, NY: Farrar Straus Giroux.
  • Hoffman, Rabbi Lawrence A. 1999. The Art of Public Prayer (2nd Edition): Not for Clergy Only. 2nd Edition, New. Woodstock, Vt: SkyLight Paths.
  • Klein, Isaac. 1979. A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice. First Edition. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
  • Marcus, Ivan G. 2012. Rituals of Childhood. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Washofsky, Mark. 2010. Jewish Living: A Guide to Contemporary Reform Practice. 1st edition. New York: UAHC Press.

Jewish Thought:

  • Adler, Rachel. 1999. Engendering Judaism: An Inclusive Theology and Ethics. First Edition. Boston: Beacon Press.
  • Batnitzky, Leora. 2013. How Judaism Became a Religion: An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Borowitz, Eugene B. 1996. Renewing the Covenant: A Theology for the Postmodern Jew. Philadelphia; New York; Jerusalem: JEWISH PUBLICATION SOCIETY.
  • Ellenson, David, and Michael Marmur. American Jewish Thought Since 1934.
  • Heschel, Susannah. 1995. On Being a Jewish Feminist. New York: Schocken.
  • Schachter-Shalomi, Zalman. Jewish with Feeling. 2005
  • Walzer, Michael. 1986. Exodus And Revolution. Revised edition. New York: Basic Books.


A Changing Jewish World, a Diverse Jewish People

Are you curious about how Judaism responds to modernity? Take time to delve into the themes of Reform Judaism past and present. Wondering about the diversity of Jewish expression and how it has evolved over time, space and difference? Encounter a broad/diverse range of Jewish experiences within the Jewish world and reflect thoughtfully about your relationship to the State of Israel, the Land of Israel and the People of Israel. Suggested Resources:


  • Biale, David. 2002. Cultures of the Jews: A New History. First Edition first Printing. New York: Schocken.
  • Meyer, Michael A. 1995. Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.
  • Gillerman, Sharon. 2009. Germans into Jews: Remaking the Jewish Social Body in the Weimar Republic. 1st edition. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press.
  • Hyman, Paula E. Gender and Assimilation in Modern Jewish History: The Roles and Representation of Women. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995.
  • Yerushalmi, Yosef Hayim. Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory. University of Washington Press, 2011.


  • Troy, Gil, and Natan Sharansky. 2018. The Zionist Ideas: Visions for the Jewish Homeland―Then, Now, Tomorrow. 1st edition. Lincoln: JEWISH PUBLICATION SOCIETY.
  • Davids, Stanley M., and Lawrence A. Englander, eds. 2017. The Fragile Dialogue: New Voices of Liberal Zionism. New York, NY: CCAR Press.
  • Hertzberg, Arthur, ed. 1997. The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader. 1st edition. Philadelphia: JEWISH PUBLICATiON SOCIETY.


Avodat Kodesh: Sacred Service

Service and leadership are intertwined in the life of a rabbi. How do Jewish values inform your decision-making? How is Judaism rooted in social justice and revolution? Where are the tensions in that rooting? Suggested Resources:

Civic Engagement, Political Action and Social Justice:

  • Jacobs, Rabbi Jill, and Rabbi David Saperstein. 2011. Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community. 1st edition. Woodstock, Vt: Jewish Lights.
  • Jaffe, David. Changing the World from the Inside Out: A Jewish Approach to Personal and Social Change.
  • Brooks, Cornell W. 2018. Moral Resistance and Spiritual Authority: Our Jewish Obligation to Social Justice. Edited by Seth M. Limmer and Jonah Dov Pesner. New York: CCAR Press.
  • Morinis, Alan. 2019. The Mussar Torah Commentary: A Spiritual Path to Living a Meaningful and Ethical Life. Edited by Barry H. Block. New York: CCAR Press.