Book List: Exploration in culture, religion and individualism

A book list complied by the Richmond Public Library on their newest books in the Dayson collection.

A list of Richmond Public Library’s newest addition to the Dayson collection.

Growing up Below Sea Level - Biale, Rachel

Growing up Below Sea Level – Rachel Biale
Ever wonder what it would have been like to grow up on a kibbutz in the 50s and 60s? Just ask Rachel Biale. Her memoir, a collection of stories ranging from her parents’ love letters all the way through to her childhood in a Children’s Home, offers a glimpse into kibbutz life for children and adults alike.

House on Endless Waters - Elon, Emunah

House on Endless Waters – Emunah Elon
An exploration of identity and belonging that draws into question just how well we know those around us – and ourselves. Author Yoel Blum travels to his birthplace, Amsterdam, and is launched into a desperate search for truth when he finds a family photo including an infant that he doesn’t recognize.

Judaism for the World - Green, Arthur

Judaism for the World – Arthur Green
This book calls out to all seekers of Judaism, Jewish or not, offering answers to questions of human existence and how to live. Incorporating over 50 years of experience as a scholar and theologian, Arthur Green leads readers on a journey inward, examining Jewish mysticism and Judaic thought in new ways.

The Lost Shtetl - Gross, MaxThe Lost Shtetl – Max Gross
Kreskol, a traditional, Yiddish-speaking village has remained hidden away for decades. When a young woman emerges, wishing to be divorced from her husband, the village is suddenly launched to the forefront of media attention. Kreskol is suddenly faced with the challenges of modern society have been missed this whole time. Can the village ever return to the way things were?

The Last Interview - Nevo, Eshkol

The Last Interview – Eshkol Nevo
A writer at his wit’s end tries to answer a set of interview questions sent to him by a website, but finds that he can no longer respond in his usual, calculated way. What comes tumbling out instead is the whole, raw, unfiltered truth – revealing deep cracks in the front he worked so hard to maintain.

The Plum Trees - Shorr, Victoria

The Plum Trees – Victoria Shorr
When Consie returns home for a funeral, she stumbles upon an old family letter that rocks her: according to the letter, her great-uncle Hermann may have escaped from Auschwitz. But what happened to him? Driven by a need for truth, Consie sets out on a quest to find out what really happened to Hermann, and bring peace to a family torn apart.

How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish

How Yiddish Changed America and America Changed Yiddish – Ilan Stavans & Joshua N. Lambert
A lively anthology of poems, essays, memoirs, letters and more, capturing Yiddish voices in America across generations. This collection showcases the diversity of Yiddish culture through themes including politics, language, literature, and the evolution of Yiddish culture through generations.

Funny, You Don’t Look Like a Rabbi – Lynnda Targan
Despite a fulfilling life, Lynnda Targan always felt something was missing, and so at age 50, she chose to pursue the path of scholarship and spirituality to become a rabbi. This inspiring and engaging memoir shows readers that it is never too late to find, and pursue, your true calling.

My Name is Selma – Selma Van de Perre
The outstanding story of bravery in the most difficult times. In 1942, at the start of World War II, seventeen-year-old Selma joined the Resistance, using a fake ID to travel across Europe under the guise of “Margaret”. Though she eventually faced Nazi capture, Selma was finally able to reveal her true identity. This is her reclaiming her story.

Heirs of Yesterday – Emma Wolf
Originally published in 1900, Emma Wolf’s Heirs of Yesterday explores topics such as individualism and antisemitism through the stories of physicist Philip May and pianist Jean Willard. This newly published edition also includes background on Wolf herself along with information on the rise of Reform Judaism in the 19th century Jewish community in San Francisco.

Ginny Dunnill is a Community Services Librarian at Richmond Public Library. The books highlighted in this list are part of the Ben and Esther Dayson Judaica Collection, a collection celebrating and sharing Jewish culture. For more information on the Dayson Collection and other great reads, visit

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