Recommended Reading List

Recommended Reading List of Prospective Converts under the Auspices of the Network of Regional Batei Din for Conversion in Association with the Rabbinical Council of America and the Beth Din of America


Entries preceded by an asterisk are very strongly recommended.  All other entries are suggestions that may be substituted by other works that cover the same general topics, at the prerogative of the individual regional batei din.   


*Donin, Hayim, To Be a Jew: A Guide to Jewish Observance in Contemporary Life

Feldman, Emanuel, On Judaism: Conversations on Being Jewish

Gelbard, Shmuel Pinchas, Judaism for the Rite Reasons

Lamm, Maurice, Becoming a Jew

Wouk, Herman, This is My God


Basic texts:

*Artscroll or Soncino Chumash

*Artscroll Tanach or The Jerusalem Bible
Kaplan, Aryeh, The Living Torah
[alternative annotated translation of Genesis: Grafstein, Shlomo, Judaism's Bible Volume I]
Gontzfried, Shlomo, Code of Jewish Law (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch), translated by Goldin, Hyman [who also authored The Jew and His Duties: The Essence of the Kitzur Shulchan]


Tanach (Bible)

Suggested portions:

Genesis 1-4; 6-9; 11-end

Exodus 1-24; 31-34*

Leviticus 9-12; 16-21; 25-26.

Numbers 10-14; 16-17; 19-25; 27; 31-32; 34-36*

Deuteronomy entire book*

*May be done as part of the weekly Parsha cycle

Joshua 1-11; 22-24

Judges 1-4; 11-end

1 Samuel 1-24; 27-end

2 Samuel 1-7; 11-19

1 Kings 1-3; 8; 10-12; 17-19; 21

2 Kings 1-2; 4-5; 7; 12; 17-end

Jonah entire book

Ruth entire book

Esther entire book

Daniel 2; 5-6; 9

Ezrah 1; 3-7; 9-10

Nechemiah 2-6; 8-9; 13



*Artscroll or Metzudah Siddur

Passover Hagaddah

Birnbaum, Mayer, Pathway to Prayer: A Translation and Explanation of the Shmoneh Esrei

Donin, Hayim Halevi, To Pray as a Jew: A Guide to the Prayerbook and the Synagogue Service

Kaplan, Louis E., Gates of Mercy: A Guide to the Synagogue Services of the High Holy Days or Sorscher, Moshe I., Companion Guide to the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Prayer Services

Sorscher, Moshe I., Companion Guide to the Shabbat Prayer Service


For Men:

Kaplan, Aryeh, Tefillin


For Women:

Kaufman, Michael, The Woman in Jewish Law and Tradition



Forst, Binyamin, The Laws of B’rachos



*Cohen, Simcha Bunim, The Shabbos Kitchen (Artscroll) or Rosenberg, Ehud, The Laws of Cooking on Sabbath and the Festivals: A Pictoral Guide

Greenwald, Zev, Illustrated Guides to Jewish Law: Shabbos or Chait, Baruch, The Thirty Nine Melachos

*Grunfeld, Isidore, The Sabbath: A Guide to its Understanding and Observance

Kaplan, Aryeh, Shabbos: Day of Eternity

Trau, Daniel Yaakov, Shabbos: Tasting Eternity


The Jewish Holidays:

*Kitov, Eliyahu, The Book of our Heritage (3 volumes)



Apisdorf, Shimon, Kosher for the Clueless but Curious

*Grunfeld, Dayan, The Dietary Laws

*Wagschal, Saul The New Practical Guide to Kashruth, or Greenwald, Zev,  Illustrated Guides to Jewish Law: The Kosher Kitchen, or Rosenberg, Ehud, Meat and Dairy: An illustrated Guide for the Kosher Kitchen          


Family Purity:

Kaplan, Aryeh, Waters of Eden: An Exploration of the Concept of Mikvah : Renewal and Rebirth

*Lamm, Norman, A Hedge of Roses: Jewish Insights into Marriage and Married Life

Schostak, Zev, The Consice Guide to Jewish Family Laws or Sprung, Yaakov, Foundations: the Laws of Family Purity, or Wagschal, Saul, Taharas and Kedushas Am Yisroel: A Guide to the Laws of Taharas Hamishpacha (less Hebrew)


Life Cycle Events:

Kaplan, Aryeh, Made in Heaven: A Jewish Wedding Guide

Kitov, Eliyahu, A Jew and His Home

*Lamm, Maurice, The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning

*Lamm, Maurice, The Jewish Way in Love and Marriage


Jewish History:

Wein, Berel, Crash Course in Jewish History (tapes or CD’s), or Triumph of the Spirit: The Story of the Jews 1650-1990, Herald of Destiny: The Story of the Jews 750-1650, Echoes of Glory: The Story of the Jews in the Classical Era, 350 BCE-750 CE


Jewish Philosophy:

Bleich, J. David, ed., With Perfect Faith: The Foundations of Jewish Belief

Kaplan, Aryeh, The Fundamentals of Jewish Faith

Kaplan, Aryeh, The Handbook of Jewish Thought

*Kaplan, Aryeh, Maimonides Principles: The Fundamentals of Jewish Faith


Hebrew reading skills are required as well.