A Reading List for Jewish American Heritage Month 2024

For Jewish American Heritage Month, observed annually during the month of May, we asked our member magazines and presses to share with us some of the work by Jewish American writers that they recommend reading in celebration.


Poetry Collections


Naming a Hurricane by Madeline Artenberg

Pink Trees Press | 2023

Artenberg’s poetry collection explores “that double edge—dazzling human possibility, potential disappointment.”




If This is the Age We End Discovery by Rosebud Ben-Oni

Alice James Books | 2021

Ben-Oni’s poems “are precisely crafted, like a surgeon sewing a complicated stitch, moving through the multiverses of family, religion, and discovery itself.”




Red by Melanie Braverman

Perugia Press | 2002

Winner of the Publishing Triangle Audre Lorde Poetry Prize, Braverman’s poetry collection “is unselfconsciously about the search for love and security in the face of grief and within the queer community.”




Love Nailed to the Doorpost by Richard Chess

University of Tampa Press | 2017

In Love Nailed to the Doorpost, Chess “offers poems and lyrical prose inspired and informed equally by the pleasures and pressures of everyday life and by sacred and secular texts.”




Every Transmission by Adam Deutsch

Fernwood Press | 2023

This debut poetry collection “is about the erosion of our mechanical relationships and the movement to natural forms.”




The Disappearing Letters by Carol Edelstein

Perugia Press | 2005

This poetry collection “is an instruction manual on how to pay very close attention while daydreaming.”




Odes to Lithium by Shira Erlichman

Alice James Books | 2019

In this collection, “captivating poems and visual art seek to bring comfort and solidarity to anyone living with Bipolar Disorder.”




Inside the Ghost Factory by Norman Finkelstein

Marsh Hawk Press | 2010

In this poetry collection, “Samuel Coleridge meets William Gibson and the result is a retro-Blakean myth for the age of Text and Tweet.”

Marsh Hawk Press was formerly distributed by SPD. Email to request this book directly from the publisher. 




Thirty-Six/Two Lives: A Poetic Dialogue by Norman Finkelstein and Tirzah Goldenberg

Dos Madres Press | 2021

This collaboration is “a book of the Jewish past and the Jewish present, of ordinary life and of mystical apprehension.”




Spellbook for the Sabbath Queen by Elisheva Fox

Belle Point Press | 2023

“Part psalter, part Sapphic verse,” this debut poetry collection “evokes the spirit of Emily Dickinson while calling the reader to prayer for a life fully lived.”




To a New Era by Joanna Fuhrman

Hanging Loose Press | 2021

Fuhrman’s sixth poetry collection is “a fearless blend of the real and the surreal, the political and the personal, all with the marks of her own kind of accelerated dizzying style.”




End of the Business Day by Robert Hershon

Hanging Loose Press | 2019

According to Anselm Berrigan, Hershon “writes about aging in this totally disarming way,” and “the measure and humor of this poetry puts you right up into living experience as a moving foreground.”




The Clearing by Lisa Hiton

Black Lawrence Press | 2022

In these poems, Hiton “turns to fictive spectacle—to narrative invention, sensory desires, and malleable landscapes—as a last gesture toward hope.”




Analog Poet Blues by Yeva Johnson

Black Lawrence Press | 2023

According to Ajuan Mance, Johnson “turns her unique gaze to the activities of daily life and all of its institutions, ideas, and relationships as she navigates the currents of her world.”




In Our Beautiful Bones by Zilka Joseph

Mayapple Press | 2021

In this poetry collection, Joseph “creates powerful collages from mythology, folklore, fairy tales, Scripture, world history and culture, literature, music, food, and current events.”




Many to Remember by Rachel Kaufman

Dos Madres Press | 2021

In her debut poetry collection, Kaufman “enters the archive’s unconscious to reveal the melodies hidden within the language of the past.”




40 Weeks by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

YesYes Books | 2023

These poems “embrace the bare and grotesque nature of pregnancy and childbirth as they consider how to mother a neurodivergent child while pregnant with another, rejecting a culture that views the body with shame.”




Walk with Me by Madeleine May Kunin

Green Writers Press | 2023

In this poetry collection, the “three-term Vermont governor invites the audience to step into her world, to slow down and find new serenity in older age and unexpected love.”




Refusenik by Lynn Melnick

YesYes Books | 2022

In these poems, Melnick “dives head-first through concentric waves of personal and generational trauma with her trademark fearlessness.”




Seguiriyas by Ben Meyerson

Black Ocean | 2023

This debut poetry “draws on the music and culture of flamenco to explore diasporic experience.”




Sleeping as Fast as I Can by Richard Michelson

Slant Books | 2023

Michelson’s poems “explore the boundaries between the personal and the political—and the deep connections between history and memory.”




Blood Memory by Gail Newman

Marsh Hawk Press | 2020

In this poetry collection, Newman revisits the Holocaust; Marge Piercy writes, “To make fresh powerful poems rooted in Shoah is amazing.”

Marsh Hawk Press was formerly distributed by SPD. Email to request this book directly from the publisher. 




T’shuvah by Richard Jeffrey Newman

Fernwood Press | 2023

According to Nandana Dev Sen, “T’shuvah searches, with relentless beauty, for the truth of what we feel most deeply, pulsing with an awareness of loss as tangible as its celebration of faith, and of love.”




Searching for Home by Robert Pack

Slant Books | 2023

This poetry collection features “sequences of poems about three figures, each a seeker after some physical or conceptual home where uncertainties are overcome.”




It’s Not Over Once You Figure It Out by Isaac Pickell

Black Ocean | 2023

This book is “a linguistically experimental and socially engaged collection of poems that examines questions of colorism within an economically driven world.”




There Are Still Woods by Hila Ratzabi

June Road Press | 2022

There Are Still Woods is “a radiant appraisal of life at the precipice of climate crisis and a haunting elegy for all we stand to lose.”




History of Gone by Lynn Schmeidler

Veliz Books | 2018

History of Gone is a collection of poems “inspired by the life and unsolved disappearance of Barbara Newhall Follett, a once-famous child prodigy writer of the early twentieth century.”




Cover of BRID featuring a childlike drawing of a bird against a blue sky.Brid by Lauren Shapiro

Veliz Books | 2024

This poetry collection “explores motherhood, the dissolution of a marriage, and grief through the lens of a shrinking pandemic space.”




Triptychs by Sandra Simonds

Wave Books | 2022

The poems in this collection “invite readers to recall painterly constructions and news headlines.”




Novels and Short Fiction Collections


Grape! by Gabriel Arquilevich

Regal House Publishing | 2019

In this novel for young readers, “Grape must spend an hour a day writing about his history of trouble, and there’s a lot of trouble to choose from.”




Carry Her Home by Caroline Anna Bock

Washington Writers’ Publishing House | 2018

The stories in this collection “unfold across the decades from the 1960s to the present day and reveal hopes and fears, truth and grief, and love.”




Cover of "Ravage and Son" by Jerome Charyn, featuring a black-and-white photo of a crowded New York City street.Ravage & Son by Jerome Charyn

Bellevue Literary Press | 2023

This work of noir “reflects the lost world of Manhattan’s Lower East Side—the cradle of Jewish immigration during the first years of the twentieth century—in a dark mirror.”




Cover of "To and Fro" by Leah Hager Cohen, featuring an illustration of a standing mirror bent upward at a 45-degree angel on a bright yellow background.To & Fro by Leah Hager Cohen

Bellevue Literary Press | 2024

Told in two mirrored narratives, this novel “unleashes the wonders and mysteries of childhood in a profound exploration of identity, spirituality, and community.”




Into the Wilderness: Parenting Stories by David Harris Ebenbach

Washington Writers’ Publishing House | 2012

According to Joan Leegant, Ebenbach “takes us deep into the heart of the messy confusion and terror and unfathomable love that make up that shaky state we call parenthood.”




The Sister Knot by Ann S. Epstein

Vine Leaves Press | 2024

Epstein’s novel follows “how two orphaned young Berlin women become each other’s family during and after the Holocaust.”




Hot Chicken Wings by Jyl Lynn Felman

Aunt Lute Books | 1992

According to Adrienne Rich, Felman “tracks the forbidden edges of being Jewish, female, lesbian at the end of the twentieth century.”




Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon

McPherson & Company | 2010

​Winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Fiction, this novel follows “the ruthless and often violent world of cheap horse racing, where trainers and jockeys, grooms and hotwalkers, loan sharks and touts are all struggling to take an edge, or prove their luck, or just survive.”




Blessed Hands by Frume Halpern

Translated from the Yiddish by Yermiyahu Ahron Taub

Frayed Edge Press | 2023

The stories in this collection “present the lives of protagonists who are working-class poor, social outcasts, and those experiencing illness, disability, and racism.”




Nirvana Is Here by Aaron Hamburger

Three Rooms Press | 2019

This novel is “an honest story about recovery and coping with both past and present, framed by the meteoric rise and fall of the band Nirvana and the wide-reaching scope of the #MeToo movement.”




My Jewish Face & Other Stories by Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz

Aunt Lute Books | 1990

The women in this collection “struggle for lesbian community, for proud Jewish identity, and always for justice steeped in compassion.”




Early Pleasures by Frederick Kohner

Black Heron Press | 2011

This novel is “a fictionalization of the author’s adolescent sexual adventures in Austria and Paris in the years following World War I.”




Bad Questions by Len Kruger

Washington Writers’ Publishing House | 2023

This novel is “a coming-of-age journey toward redemption and self-awareness, skirting the lines between spirituality, skepticism, and faith.”




Dissonance by Lisa Lenard-Cook

Santa Fe Writers Project | 2014

According to Kevin McIlvoy, this novel “is bold in its scale, placing us at different eras in the concentration camp at Theresienstadt and in the scientific world of Los Alamos, New Mexico.”




The Man Who Loved His Wife by Jennifer Anne Moses

Mayapple Press | 2020

The characters in this short story collection “grapple with God, their loved ones, fate, death, hope, Hitler, transcendence, and the 4,000-year-old history of Judaism.”




Half-Lives by Lynn Schmeidler

Autumn House Press | 2024

This book of 16 stories is “a humane, absurd, and timely collection of narratives centering on women’s bodies and psyches.”




Dreams Under Glass by Anca L. Szilágyi

Lanternfish Press | 2022

In this novel, a recent art school graduate “begins to obsessively imagine her daily grind expressed in unsettling and sometimes violent dioramas.”




Ripped Away by Shirley Reva Vernick

Regal House Publishing | 2022

This novel “is based on real historical events, including the Ripper crimes, the inquests, and the accusations against immigrants.”




Moses in Sinai by Simone Zelitch

Black Heron Press | 2010

In this novel, Zelitch “rewrites the books of Exodus and Numbers by way of The Arabian Nights, Nikos Kazantzakis, and Cecil B. DeMille.”




From Where We Are by Nicole Zelniker

Vine Leaves Press | 2024

According to David Jackson Ambrose, this novel is “a kaleidoscopic gem that adeptly showcases how the shameful misdeeds of the past reverberate into modern acts of violence.”




Nonfiction Books


Buoyant: A Child’s Journey of Survival by Joseph G. Brin

Tursulowe Press | 2023

This book of hand-cut silhouettes “chronicles the world of a joyful nine-year-old boy navigating day-to-day survival following the occupation of Paris.”




Negative Space by Lilly Dancyger

Santa Fe Writers Project | 2021

According to Melissa Febos, this book is “a daughter’s heartrending tribute, a love story riddled by addiction, a mystery whose solution lies at the intersection of art and memory.”




How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish

Restless Books | 2020

Edited by Ilan Stavans and Josh Lambert, this book is “a momentous and diverse anthology of the influences and inspirations of Yiddish voices in America—radical, dangerous, and seductive, but also sweet, generous, and full of life.”




A Sturdy Yes of a People: Selected Writings by Joan Nestle

Sinister Wisdom | 2022

This volume features Nestle’s “persistent involvement in liberation movements, LGBTQ histories, erotic writing, and archives that document gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer lives.”




A Place They Called Home: Reclaiming Citizenship. Stories of a New Jewish Return to Germany

Berlinica | 2018

Edited by Donna Swarthout, A Place They Called Home is “the first book to give a voice to the descendants of Jewish Holocaust survivors who have chosen to restore their German citizenship.”




The Poetics of Wrongness by Rachel Zucker

Wave Books | 2023

In her first book of critical nonfiction, Zucker “explores wrongness as a foundational orientation of opposition and provocation.”



Literary Magazines


“Countermand” by Lauren Camp

Tahoma Literary Review | 2024

This poem begins, “We told her someone she loved had died  / but her memory was busy working / in a pastrami shop / down the block from the ocean.”




Two Poems by Jonathan Dubow

manywor(l)ds | 2024

The poem “FR    P L ST N ” begins, “There is complete quiet. / It is time to talk / to yourself. It is time to hear / two words.”




Logo of Terrain.org featuring text in black with a purple dot and a purple and green flower above the text.“Dear Memphis,” by Rachel Edelman

Terrain.org | 2024

This poem begins, “Dear Memphis, // Once, my grandma’s mailbox toppled / in straight-line winds / that tipped an old oak / onto her roof—”




Another Chicago Magazine“Kaddish: Mom’s de Kooning” by Marguerite Feitlowitz

Another Chicago Magazine | 2023

This essay begins, “‘And then there was Mom’s de Kooning,’ we like to recall, our pride as bright as the colors on that enormous canvas.”




Logo of The Cincinnati Review featuring "The" and "Review" in black on gray and "Cincinnati" in white on a red square.Three Poems by Norman Finkelstein

Cincinnati Review | 2023

The poem “Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘Where Go the Boats?’” begins, “Gray green is the river / At the end of the world….”




“You Barely Even Work Here: On Higher Education and the Myths of Neutrality” by Leora Fridman

Full Stop | 2024

This essay begins, “My friend has been a professor for thirty years and never felt the need to identify her ethnicity until this past fall.”




“Sing Ladino” by Yankev Glatshteyn

Translated from the Yiddish by Asya Vaisman Schulman

Words Without Borders | 2016

This poem begins, “Sing Ladino, you blond songer, / Our magicjargonino, / Multicolored chattering, / Multitongued languageing….”




“Aubade with Selichot” by Mónica Gomery

The Kenyon Review | 2024

This poem begins, “Look how the light bruises / the sky, how the crickets shred / quiet with their chatty back legs.”




“Make a Tzohar in the Ark” by Mónica Gomery

Radar Poetry | 2023

This poem begins, “Thirty-seven & the pain / gets worse each month. That burn / in the womb where the baby / isn’t.”




“Why There Is No Hebrew Word for Obey” by Jessica Jacobs

Southern Humanities Review | 2023

This poem begins, “What came later / was the real trial. Because God knew // Isaac would not die / while Abraham climbed the mountain believing….”




SWWIM logo on a black ink splatter“For Whom Do You Bathe and Make Yourself Beautiful?” by Elizabeth Jacobson

SWWIM | 2023

This poem begins, “A black widow tends two webs in different corners of my bathroom.”




Logo of Terrain.org featuring text in black with a purple dot and a purple and green flower above the text.“Its Petrified Imprint” by Sharon Kirsch

Terrain.org | 2023

This work of photography and prose begins, “In a high wet meadow bordering a spruce forest, a crane disturbed the grasses, then vanished.”




“Wandering Half Jew” by Daniel Kleifgen

Under the Sun | 2023

This essay begins, “Colombo, Sri Lanka, is one of those cities where a two-hour bus ride is enough to bring your whole worldview into question.”




SWWIM logo on a black ink splatter“Honey Dazzle” by Michele Kotler

SWWIM | 2022

This poem begins, “The apple slice buckles under               the weight of honey          the sweat   //   that beads               after being cut open….”




A Portfolio of Poetry by Aviya Kushner

Tupelo Quarterly | 2022

The poem “History” begins, “—who was Ibn Ezra, / but a man wandering, alone?”




“God’s Appointments” by Sam Levy

The Hudson Review | 2022

This story begins, “Now forty, Moshe was what his mother called ‘stale goods’—his father preferred ‘bum’—and those in their fold had begun to speculate on what might be stalling a match.”




“Documents” by Diane Mehta

The Kenyon Review | 2023

This essay begins, “The birth certificate that documents my entry into the world is the first of many documents that explain my life, but when I look at it, things go wrong immediately.”




Another Chicago Magazine“Three turns of a Chassidic Microscope” by Yehoshua November

Another Chicago Magazine | 2021

This poem begins, “1) Solid, tangible world. 2) World as mere / surface, overlay atop Divine speech.”




Two Poems by Isaac Pickell

manywor(l)ds | 2024

The poem “In the psych ward, you gasp” begins, “In the psych ward, you gasp / with every waking, gulping breaths // through a stiff neck and bruised senses / of self….”




Logo of Off Assignment featuring black text (off is italicized) on a white background.“To the Woman Whose Body I Washed” by Robin Reif

Off Assignment | 2022

This essay begins, “Three days in the morgue and the chemicals released in death had turned your skin the color of rust.”




Image from Dark Matter: Women Witnessing featuring the text "Women Witnessing" in white against an image of stones beneath water.“Refugia*” by Yehudit Silverman

Dark Matter: Women Witnessing | 2024

This poem begins, “The night of a thousand stars / won’t keep you safe / as you run on desert sands….”




“Women at Shiva” by Donna Spruijt-Metz

Tahoma Literary Review | 2021

This poem begins, “When a mother dies //               she leaves her residue—a snail’s trail // across the days of her daughters—”




To Be a Jewish Dyke in the 21st Century

Sinister Wisdom | 2021

This issue addresses the questions, “What are Jewish lesbians thinking about? Writing about? Making art about now, here in the first two decades of the 21st century?”