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2022-2023 Picks

Find your local library to check out any of our picks! Join our Book Club conversation on Goodreads and sign up to receive emails about author features throughout the year.

Atomic Anna

By Rachel Barenbaum

Three generations of women work together and travel through time to prevent the Chernobyl disaster and right the wrongs of their past.

Shanda: A Memoir of Shame and Secrecy

by Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Shanda tells the story of three generations of complicated, intense 20th-century Jews for whom the desire to fit in and the fear of public humiliation either drove their aspirations or crushed their spirit.

Dirshuni: Contemporary Women’s Midrash

Edited by Tamar Biala

Dirshuni: Contemporary Women’s Midrash is the first-ever English edition of a historic collection of midrashim. The writers contribute their Torah to fill the missing half of the sacred Jewish bookshelf. This book reflects dramatic changes in the agency of women in the world of religious writings.

Pure Colour

By Sheila Heti

Pure Colour is a galaxy of a novel: explosive, celestially bright, huge, and streaked with beauty. It is a contemporary bible, an atlas of feeling, and an absurdly funny guide to the great (and terrible) things about being alive. Sheila Heti is a philosopher of modern experience, and she has reimagined what a book can hold.


By Felicia Berliner

In this witty, provocative, and unputdownable debut novel, a young Hasidic woman on a quest to get married fears she will never find a groom because of her secret addiction to porn.

Growing Up Jewish in India: Synagogues, Customs, and Communities from the Bene Israel to the Art of Siona Benjamin

Edited by Ori Z. Soltes

Growing Up Jewish in India offers an historical account of the primary Jewish communities of India. It offers an investigation both within Jewish India and beyond its borders, tracing how Jews arrived in the vast subcontinent at different times and ultimately created their own diaspora within the larger Jewish diaspora by relocating to other countries.

Let There Be Light

By Liana Finck

In this ambitious and transcendent graphic novel, Liana Finck turns her keen eye to none other than the Old Testament, reimagining the story of Genesis with God as a woman, Abraham as a resident of New York City, and Rebekah as a robot, among many other delightful twists. In Finck's retelling, the millennia-old stories haunt the pages like familiar but partially forgotten nursery rhymes―transmuted by time but still deeply resonant.

Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir of Friendship

By Nina Totenberg

Celebrated NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg delivers an extraordinary memoir of her personal successes, struggles, and life-affirming relationships, including her beautiful friendship of nearly fifty years with the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America

By Dahlia Lithwick

Dahlia Lithwick, Slate Senior Editor and one of the nation's foremost legal commentators, tells the gripping and heroic story of the women lawyers who fought the racism, sexism, and xenophobia of Donald Trump's presidency—and won.

On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World

By Danya Ruttenberg

A crucial new lens on repentance, atonement, forgiveness, and repair from harm—from personal transgressions to our culture's most painful and unresolved issues.

Even God Had Bad Parenting Days

By Alicia Jo Rabins

Humorous, self-reflective, and comforting, Rabins' musings on both heartening and cringe-worthy biblical examples of parenting can help any caregiver see beyond the detritus of day-to-day living with young children and recapture a sense of wonder at the process of raising small humans.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

By Gabrielle Zevin

In this exhilarating novel, two friends—often in love, but never lovers—come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality.

The Modern Loss Handbook: An Interactive Guide to Moving Through Grief and Building Your Resilience

By Rebecca Soffer

Modern Loss is about eradicating the stigma and awkwardness around grief while also focusing on our capacity for resilience and finding meaning. This illustrated book aims to help people stay connected to their person, to themselves, and to the world around them across the long arc of loss.

She Persisted: Clara Lemlich

By Deborah Heiligman

Clara Lemlich started working in clothing factories on the Lower East Side, only to realize that workers were being treated unfairly. So she stood up for the rights of workers, especially girls and women—and she won, changing the way factory workers were treated in America forever. In this chapter book biography by award-winning author Deborah Heiligman, readers learn about the amazing life of Clara Lemlich.

The Great Stewardess Rebellion: How Women Launched a Workplace Revolution at 30,000 Feet

By Nell McShane Wulfhart

The empowering true story of a group of spirited stewardesses who stood up to huge corporations and won, creating momentous change for all working women.

Loss of Memory Is Only Temporary

By Johanna Kaplan

Johanna Kaplan's beautifully written stories first burst on the literary scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Today they have retained all of their depth, surprise, and humor—their simultaneously scathing, hilarious, and compassionate insight into character and behavior.

Shekhinah Speaks

By Joy Ladin

Shehkinah is the name by which Jewish tradition refers to the immanent, feminine aspect of the divine who dwells with human beings and experiences what each of us experiences—and, in tradition, doesn't speak at all. Shekhinah Speaks gives intimate, audacious, and vital voice to this presence through poetry.

Freefall: One Mother's Journey Raising a Child With Special Needs

By Cindy Kaplan

Freefall is for any parent who has a child with a disability, and it is also a book for any parent. It’s about understanding how expectations shape parents’ relationships with their children, and with themselves.

From the Jewish Provinces: Selected Stories

By Fradl Shtok, translated by Allison Schachter

From the Jewish Provinces showcases a brilliant and nearly forgotten voice in Yiddish letters. An insistently original writer whose abrupt departure from the literary scene is the stuff of legend, Fradl Shtok composed stories that describe the travails of young women looking for love and desire in a world that spurns them.

Her Birth and Later Years

By Irena Klepfisz

A trailblazing lesbian poet, child Holocaust survivor, and political activist whose work is deeply informed by socialist values, Irena Klepfisz is a vital and individual American voice. This book is the first complete collection of her work.

Frankly Feminist: Short Stories by Jewish Women from Lilith Magazine

Edited by Susan Weidman Schneider and Yona Zeldis McDonough

Short story collections focusing on Jewish writers have—no surprise—typically given women authors short shrift. Frankly Feminist represents the best Jewish feminist fiction published in Lilith magazine, and does what no other collection has done before in its geographic scope, its inclusion of 21st century stories, and its Jewish feminist focus.

Blood Lines

By Ann Bookman

Ann Bookman’s new collection of poetry, Blood Lines, is both a family history and an inquiry into genetics and our social environment, interrogating the tension between fate and randomness.

The Flying Camel: Essays on Identity by Women of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Heritage

Edited by Loolwa Khazzoom

Focusing on the experiences of Jewish women of two rich and varied regions, The Flying Camel reveals the hidden worlds of Jewish women often misunderstood or maligned by both the cultures in which they live and the European-Jewish community (first edition 2003).

One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World

By Michael Frank, illustrated by Maira Kalman

The remarkable story of 99-year-old Stella Levi, whose conversations with the writer Michael Frank over the course of six years bring to life the vibrant world of Jewish Rhodes, the deportation to Auschwitz that extinguished 90% of her community, and the resilience and wisdom of the woman who lived to tell the tale.

When Rabbis Abuse: Power, Gender, and Status in the Dynamics of Sexual Abuse in Jewish Culture

By Elana Maryles Sztokman

When Rabbis Abuse explores the dynamics of sexual abuse in Jewish culture. Based on 84 interviews with victims/survivors, experts, and thinkers around the Jewish world, the book offers a groundbreaking analysis of how abuse happens -- and what the community can do about it.

The Only Woman in the Room: Golda Meir and Her Path to Power

By Pnina Lahav

In this authoritative and empathetic biography, Pnina Lahav reexamines the life of Golda Meir (1898–1978) through a feminist lens, focusing on her recurring role as a woman standing alone among men. The Only Woman in the Room is the first book to contend with Meir’s full identity, providing a richer portrait of her persona and legacy.


By Maayan Eitan

Maayan Eitan’s incendiary debut novella sets off a firestorm about the relationship between truth and fiction, and the experiences of women under the power of men. Compact and gemlike, this is a contemporary allegory of a young woman on the verge.

The Lives of Jessie Sampter: Queer, Disabled, Zionist

By Sarah Imhoff

By charting how Jessie Sampter’s life did not neatly line up with her own religious and political ideals, Imhoff highlights the complicated and at times conflicting connections between the body, queerness, disability, religion, and nationalism.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "2022-2023 Picks." (Viewed on March 21, 2023) <https://jwa.org/programs/bookclub/bookshelf>.


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