Any recommended Jewish novels?

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    gabboim- not really. its a gemara in kiddushun not to eat in the street (possul l’eidus if u do) it doesnt say anything about reading books.


    I am not so sure nothing is written down about not reading fiction.

    I love science fiction and was told by a rabbi (not necessarily a rav, but a regular rabbi who I get advice from) that I should not read it or listen (at least not on Shabbos, not sure now, if he meant not to at all, or if he was paskening that it was assur or just not worthwhile, like studying Torah would be)) to non Jewish music (at all, but that was a suggestion, he did not say it was a halacha).

    I cannot cite chapter and verse because they did not quote it to me.

    I am not even saying it is definately assur, but something that may be, and it might possibly be written down somewhere.

    I am just pointing out that is very easy to say “It’s not written down”.

    But just saying that, does not ‘make’ it true, even if no one can give the exact quote.

    I remember hearing once about a great tzaddik (might have been one of the Chabad Rebbes before he actually ‘became’ Rebbe.) who was in a beis medresh and overheard someone, saying that a certain thing he was discussing with his chavrusa, was not mentioned in the Gemara.

    The Tzaddik, knew it was there and asked the person, “Do you know the entire Talmud so well, that you can say that you ‘know’, it is not in there?”.


    To Shraga F:

    If it’s IBD, check out the SCDiet, at

    To the olam: yirei shamayim is plural.

    To Wolfish: besides (for) (besides for is a pet peeve of mine) not being well-written, the proofreading/editing/translation is often geferlach.

    I’m going to plead the fifth pretty much. I don’t think a lot of the books here are great lit. I do like Meir Uri Gottesman, have to wonder after reading a book like Morningstar if one can read it in the bathroom. Ditto for Avner Gold.


    I am surprised that I am the first person to point this out, but the tenor of the question which this post began with seems to be lashon haroh. Perhaps the question could be asked without “bashing” frum novels?

    I’m just saying…


    To Wolfish: besides (for) (besides for is a pet peeve of mine) not being well-written, the proofreading/editing/translation is often geferlach.

    Tzippi, it was a joke. Most novels are professionally written in the sense that the author gets paid to write them. That was the point I was making — I was not making a point regarding the quality of said works*.

    The Wolf

    * Truth is, since I generally don’t read Jewish fiction, I can’t comment on it one way or the other.


    I just read this book, and coming from someone who’s usually very disappointed with Jewish novels I really enjoyed it.

    It’s called Invisible Me by Tzippi Canton, the same person who wrote Miracle Ride, however this one, is a novel.Anyone out there who read it have any thoughts on the topic?


    Same place it says a Yirei Shamayim shouldn’t fress a hot dog in public.

    Exactly as I figured – you don’t have a source.

    If you want to believe that, then that’s fine, that’s your opinion – but it doesn’t make it so.

    The Wolf




    (Or, one better… perhaps we should say a yarei shamayim doesn’t post on an internet board. 🙂

    I cry foul. Speak for yourself, Wolf.


    I cry foul. Speak for yourself, Wolf.

    Obviously, I didn’t mean it seriously. My point was that if he could make up characteristics of a yarei shamayim, then so could I.

    The Wolf

    so right

    Is everything a Yarei Shamayim does written down somewhere? Is everything that is common sense written down somewhere? The two intersect, and many things expected from a Yarei Shamayim are intuitive that isn’t written.


    Is everything a Yarei Shamayim does written down somewhere?

    Perhaps, perhaps not. But if it’s so intuitive that a yarei shamayim doesn’t read fiction, why can’t I (or many other people) see it? Why hasn’t there been a move to ban Jewish fiction? Why has no one spoken out against this terrible matzav of people reading fiction?

    The Wolf

    so right

    Its all a matter of madreiga. Someone on a higher madreiga may realize fiction is inappropriate, but for the hamon am it is not forbidden.


    Regarding the subject matter:

    – “In the Spider’s Web” by Chaim Eliav (this may be out of print- try your luck)

    – Previously mentioned: books written by Sender Zeyv are extremely well researched, professionally written and have unique/interesting plots (“Every Man a Slave”, “Aleph Shin”, “Ten Lost”)

    – Previously mentioned: Avner Gold, he has a beautiful flowing writing style that keeps you captivated. A bit dramatic and ‘fantastic’ (as someone already eloquently described); but since his books are historical fiction they lend the feeling of being well grounded plots with a wealth of believable info. At first glance they seem like children’s books, but I always say they can be read on 2 different levels- there’s so much to gain from them. The following are the books in the series I refer to:

    1 The Promised Child

    2 The Dream

    3 The Year of the Sword

    4 Twilight

    5 The Imposter

    6 The Purple Ring

    7 Envoy from Vienna

    8 The Marrano Prince

    9 The Long Road to Freedom

    10 Scandal in Amsterdam

    11 The Fur Traders

    12 Midnight Intruders

    I hope you can gather enough books to keep you occupied for a while. It’s good to hear people are working on getting rid of the “tummah”. Hatzlocha! You have my full support 🙂


    How come you never see a gadol reading books? Because some1 with yiras shamayim doesnt read anything thats not torah. Finished.

    anon for this

    mosherose, great point. That’s why you’ll never read a biography of a gadol that mentions him reading the newspaper.


    Gedolim dont read newspapers.


    As a bookworm who is trying very hard to wean himself off of Goyishe novels, I find myself frustrated over and over again when trying to read a “frum” novel. The vast majority of the ones I’ve tried to read either

    1. Have a unrealistic plot,

    2. Are sloppy, i.e. plot holes and/or bad research,

    3. amateurishly written or translated

    ShragaF wants to read novels that are neither of the above. A lot of what was suggested to be read is at least one of the above.

    ShragaR if you can get Mayer Bendet’s or Marcus Lehman’s books, I guarantee you they are very realistic, very good and original plots, and well written. In Marcus Lehman’s case, I guess the books printed a while ago are well translated as someone pointed out that the newer versions are edited.

    I used to think that one of Mayer Bendet’s books-The Orphan, two volumes- is the only one that doesn’t have a realistic plot as it’s about a Nazi that married a Jewish woman. However, quite a few years later I read a real account of a Nazi that was engaged and almost got married to a Jewish woman after the Holocaust and in fact lived in Israel for awhile. That’s when I realized the plot was not that farfetched.

    I started reading Every Man a Slave and don’t remember why I didn’t finish it. However I do remember being impressed at the style of the writing – it seems like a good book.

    Exiles of Crodile Island by Henya Meyer was also a good, realistic and well researched book. I have not heard of her other book Fall of The Sun God that someone mentioned on this thread, but I think I want to read that next.

    Even though Avner Gold’s books don’t have realistic plots (and I don’t think they are meant to be extremely realistic -they are rather historically informative in an entertaining way)I enjoyed reading them.


    mosherose, believe it or not, not everyone is meant to be a gadol in the same area. If a big well-known gadol would read a newspaper thats one thing (and I dont really think its wrong but just to go along with your opinion for a minute) and if someone who would be reading something they shouldnt, theres a very big difference. The second one is probably getting more schar for reading the newspaper than the gadol is for not. (assuming there is actually something wrong in the newspaper) I dont think making blanket statements benefits anyone in the long run.



    when i was in seminary in e”y, they took us to the daughters of different gedolim from the past generation, and one of them told us that her father used to do crosswords from the newspaper in places where we can’t read other material.i guess it just depends which newspaper you’re talking about.

    also, gedolim probably don’t read these books because that’s bittul Torah, which is a totally different issue than yiras shamayim.


    music lover29-

    “Invisible Me” is an extremely well written book, whether it’s being graded as a “frum novel” or as general fiction.

    It does a really good job of showing how a person with a little-understood disability handles everyday life, while maintaining the reader’s interest in seeing where the story goes.

    The main character is neither heroic nor pathetic, but a normal teenager with ups and downs who tries to get through daily activities while compensating where necessary for her communicative disability.

    The greatest challenge she faces isn’t her actual disability, but rather the lack of understanding, the lack of patience, the frustration and the discomfort people have when dealing with her.

    I recommend the book.


    i didnt follow the thread but i have the same problem. I did like reading A DAUGHTER OF TWO MOTHERS, by Miriam Cohen and she also wrote BEHIND THE WALLS. these were some of the only Jewish books i really liked because i didnt get nervous from the way it was written. ..oh i saw that comment to just read the torah, but i’m a girl and have a hard time translating and learning by myself, and i have tried readig ageret haRamban (in english), which includes a lot of lessons but the problem is i like stories… also if you want to be sure goyesha books are “kosher” i read the ones that are for younger children but are still good. Not the ones geared to my age. 🙂


    I happened to LOVE Time Bomb, I read it last year in seminary and couldn’t put it down. I usually find jewish novels not well written, but this one was incredible! I also loved A Daughter of 2 Mothers.


    one of the better novels is The four Seasons of Golda Mirel by Eva Vogiel. She should write more adult books as opposed to young adult. It is really good. Also Just Between Friends is a book for every newly married (or not) women to read.


    is time bomb by jonathan kellerman? that’s the one i found on the internet, maybe i’ll try it 😀


    Read “Every Man A Slave” by Sender Zeyv.


    observanteen, u belong on the support group thread so u can help me vent.


    I highly recommend “Yesterday’s Child” and “On a Golden Chain” by Ruth Benjamin. Incredible.


    Where can I get Sender Zeyv’s “Aleph Shin” and “Ten Lost”? (I have filtered internet so can’t google.)


    Has anyone read “A Tale of Two Sisters”? I heard that it’s really well-written… looking for some opinions….


    A Daughter of Two Mothers is not a novel, it is a TRUE story. But anyways…



    Way back I remember loving baron korof. It’s a pretty short book and I’m not sure it’s total fiction. Haven’t seen it in a while so I don’t know if I’d be as enthralled today. Don’t remember the author. Has anybody read it and have an opinion about it?


    SayIDidit, the book I’m talking about, “A Tale of Two Sisters,” just came out. It’s listed on Feldheim’s summer reading list… Doesn’e seem like anyone has heard of it, so I’ll take the plunge.

    Stay tuned……


    Are there any “professionally written jewish novels” that dont include espionage, nazis/skin heads, long lost and/or off the derech relatives in the plot?


    SayIDidIt – Is it really a true story? I found it extremely interesting, but i also thought that the entire second half of the book is irrelevant and boring. Although the fact that she marries her brother afterwards is quite cool.

    apushatayid – There are some books written by Riva Pomerantz – not for teenage boys, i can tell you, but i know my mother and sisters love them . Green Fences [serialized in the Mishpacha], Breaking Point and the like. I’ll try get a full list for you.

    For teenage guys – i loved Yair Weistock’s books. Every one of them is totally different. Calculated Risk is good, The Gordian Knot is superbly written with a brilliant plot and totally original. Borrowed Time is interesting – i enjoyed it a lot, and the whole book is without guns and spies… The Time Bomb was a good read, but the plot was ridiculous.

    The Link, by Nachman Seltzer, is good for teens, and is slightly better than the sequel The Network.

    One really good novel was THE WILL. Very long, but otherwise fantastic!!!

    [Harry Potter kicks them all in though. :-)]


    It’s very interesting to see the wide range of opinions on here as to what defines a ‘professionally written’ book.

    IMO, unless you’ve read professionally written Goyishe books you can’t really comment. Someone above recommended In the Spider’s Web by Chaim Eliav. I had the misfortune of reading it shortly after completing my English exams in High School. It is dreadful, purple prose, long-winded and drawn out and full of caricatures (men in black suits with black sunglasses stepping out of a black car talking in mysterious code, is one example that springs to mind some 10 years later).

    Avner Gold is alright, although he also tends to waffle a bit, and his books range in quality. I thought the later books in the series were a big improvement on the earlier ones. Contrast ‘The Dream’ with ‘The Marrano Prince’ if you’re not sure what I mean.

    I’m more than a little surprised that no-one appears to have read Meir Baram’s books – The Fateful Mission, The Kingdom Didn’t Fall, etc. Originally written in hebrew, based on historical fact, and IMO exquisitely rendered into English, they are refreshingly different to the tripe churned out by Yair Weinstock and co.

    I can’t believe that Yekke2 thinks The Gordian Knot was ‘superbly written with a brilliant plot’. Honestly, the book’s climax wherein two Jewish boys miraculously track down an old Nazi is as ridiculous and contrived as plots come.


    apushatayid, I’m sorta with you on that one, which is why I hesitate to buy books, but I just finished the book I asked about, “A Tale of Two Sisters,” in one sitting. (I stayed up til 2am, and left my house a disaster–it was that good!)

    Very well written, excellent dialogue, believable–and interesting–plot, and a SUPERB ending.

    Just thought I’d let you know…


    If you’re looking for a well written Novel/Thriller-

    The Gordian Knot


    Excellent, well-written.


    I agree with Leyzer. After reading non-Jewish thrillers, I haven’t found any decent Jewish ones.

    There are quite a number of good non-thrillers, such as Invisible Me, Four seasons of Golda Mirel, Daughter of Two Mothers all mentioned above.

    I read most of Henya Meyer’s ‘This is American’ serialised in the Hamodia, which is now available as a book. She writes well.

    Leyzer: I did enjoy Meir Baram’s books as a child. They are excellent. But if I remember correctly, they are for a far younger audience. So are the Anver Gold books.


    apushatayid: “Are there any “professionally written jewish novels” that dont include espionage, nazis/skin heads, long lost and/or off the derech relatives in the plot? “

    Doubt it. Most topics are out-of-bounds for Jewish books, so that’s about all that’s left. Unless you are very creative.


    i have to agree with Leyzer. I never read a goyish novel, but i know a good book when i read it. and the truth is most jewish novels aren’t written well. The best i read was already mentioned Pyramid Base.


    a tale of two sisters is not bad, but best book lately is chasing illusions , but its not for everyone.


    Here are some kosher non-jewish novels:

    The Plague by Albert Camus

    Moby Dick by Herman Melville

    Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky

    Anna Karenina by Tolstoy

    Almost anything written by Jane Austen

    Animal Farm by George Orwell

    Just a few to keep you busy


    Every Man a Slave is available from Amazon for over $100. Used. If you want it new, it is $843.92!


    Jewish authors had to be sophisticated when everyone else was cultured and literate. But we are currently living in the Reality TV/Lady Gaga generation, not the Shakespeare/Wagner generation. It’s hard to expect frum ‘Tolstoys’ when the rest of the world is playing video games and partying.

    Mr. Jones

    Rav Nosson Kamenetsky writes that his father was familiar with Russian literature.


    “ShragaF”: Without going in to too much detail, there are places that one cannot learn Torah”.

    Like where?


    “The Gordian Knot is superbly written with a brilliant plot and totally original”

    “Honestly, the book’s climax wherein two Jewish boys miraculously track down an old Nazi is as ridiculous and contrived as plots come”

    See, I love most of the plot idea, and I really like the first two parts (David & Buki and Chilik & Shalom). The writing was probably not at all bad in the Hebrew version (I get the feeling a lot of the issue was the translation, but of course I could be wrong). The first two parts were a brilliant idea.

    Then comes the third part (Avi & Meitar) wherein are added the neo-Nazis, the evil Islamists, the secret code, the pseudoscience, the long-lost friend, and the kabbalistic rebbe who knows all the secrets. That part seriously justifies everything everyone says about why they don’t like Jewish books. If he’d just left that out, he’d have been in MUCH better shape- I think the original plot was SO much better and deserved MUCH better treatment.

    I do recommend the book for the first two sections- you should probably also read the third section in order to know why you shouldn’t.

    I can’t recommend enough the works of Haim Sabato. Really incredible. If you read Hebrew well then I’d recommend you start the Hebrew editions, but English translations are also fantastic. If you like thrillers, these ain’t them. They’re much more historical fiction/memoir. The best one IMO (Adjusting Sights) is about the author’s experiences in the Yom Kippur War, and is therefore very Zionist (the author is the rosh yeshiva of a yeshivat hesder)- if you don’t like that, skip it and go on to The Dawning of the Day. I don’t know if they’re sold in Jewish bookstores, though- I got mine on Amazon.

    Also, this is PROBABLY not the right forum for this, but I liked The Chosen.

    *runs away and hides*


    jewish novels are awful, awful stuff.


    As other people suggest, Rabbi Meir Uri Gottesman writes extremely well and he also writes in a very inspiring way, which is exactly what I want in a book. I love character development and inspiration that’s done in an artful, not preachy manner. MUG is amazing at that.

    In surprised nobody had mentioned Etka Gittel Schwartz. She also knows how to write and she’s inspirational.


    Excellent new book out “Who by Fire, Who by Sword” by Toby Orlander. Great for women 14-94. I couldn’t put it down once I started it. Bought it for my granddaughter, but enjoyed it myself. I didn’t want it to end.

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