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Jewish Lives, Jewish Lives Series, Jewish Biography, Jewish History, Jewish Culture, Jewish Books, Biography books, Top selling books, Jewish Book, Bestselling biographies, Best biography books, Judaism, Jewish, King David, Jacob, King Solomon, Rabbi Akiva, Moses, Peggy Guggenheim, Mark Rothko, Leonard Bernstein, Bernard Berenson, Sarah Bernhardt, Barbra Streisand, Groucho Marx, Hank Greenberg, Steven Spielberg, Louis Brandeis, Disraeli, Leon Blum, Ben-Gurion, Jabotinsky, Moshe Dayan, Walter Rathenau, Leon Trotsky, Emma Goldman, Yitzhak Rabin, Marcel Proust, Lillian Hellman, Primo Levi, Franz Kafka, Hayyim Nahman Bialik, Rav Kook, Moses Mendelssohn, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud

Photographer Name

Mordechai Bar-On
Moshe Dayan: Israel’s Controversial Hero

Mordechai Bar-On is senior research fellow, Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Institute, Jerusalem. He served in the Israel Defense Forces as General Moshe Dayan's bureau chief during the Sinai Campaign, and in 1984 was elected to the Knesset, Israel's parliament. He lives in Jerusalem.


Pierre Birnbaum
Léon Blum: Prime Minister, Socialist, Zionist

One of France’s most eminent political sociologists, Pierre Birnbaum is professor emeritus at the Sorbonne. He is the author or co-author of seventeen books, including Anti-Semitism in France, The Jews of the Republic, and Geography of Hope. He is co-editor, with Ira Katznelson, of Paths for Emancipation.

Author Photograph © Gallimard Photos


David Cesarani
Disraeli: The Novel Politician

David Cesarani was a research professor in History at Royal Holloway, University of London, and director of the Holocaust Research Centre. His books include Becoming Eichmann: Rethinking the Life, Crimes, and Trial of a “Desk Murderer,” winner of the National Jewish Book Award for history; Major Farran’s Hat: Murder, Scandal, and Britain’s War Against Jewish Terrorism, 1945–1948, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award for history and nominated for a Golden Dagger for nonfiction; and Arthur Koestler: The Homeless Mind. In 2005 he was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his work in establishing a Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK. He died in 2015, at the age of 58.

Author photograph © Zadig Productions


Rachel Cohen
Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade

Rachel Cohen is the author of A Chance Meeting: Intertwined Lives of American Writers and Artists, winner of the PEN/Jerard Fund Award. Her essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Believer, Best American Essays, and many other publications. She teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She keeps a notebook on looking at paintings at http://rachelecohen.com.

Author photograph © Peter Serling, 2013


Annie Cohen-Solal
Mark Rothko: Toward the Light in the Chapel

Annie Cohen-Solal is an academic and a cultural historian. Born in Algiers, she received her Ph.D. degree from the Sorbonne. Her books include the acclaimed Sartre: A Life and Leo and His Circle: The Life of Leo Castelli, winner of the ArtCurial Prize. She has served as cultural counselor to the French Embassy in the United States.


Shmuel Feiner
Moses Mendelssohn: Philosopher of the Enlightenment

Shmuel Feiner is professor of Modern Jewish History at Bar Ilan University and holds the Samuel Braun Chair for the History of the Jews in Prussia. His books include Haskalah and History: The Emergence of a Modern Jewish Historical Consciousness and The Jewish Enlightenment (winner of the Koret Jewish Book Award).


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Saul Friedländer
Franz Kafka: The Poet of Shame and Guilt

Saul Friedländer is a renowned historian of the Holocaust and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. He is Distinguished Emeritus Professor of History and Club 39 Endowed Chair in Holocaust Studies at UCLA. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.


Neal Gabler
Barbra Streisand: Redefining Beauty, Femininity, and Power

Neal Gabler is the author of four previous books. Both An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood and Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His other books include Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity, which was named nonfiction book of the year by Time magazine, and Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality.

Author photograph © Christina Gabler


Dorothy Gallagher
Lillian Hellman: An Imperious Life

Dorothy Gallagher is the author of Hannah’s Daughters and All the Right Enemies: The Life and Murder of Carlo Tresca, and two volumes of memoirs. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, and Grand Street. She lives in New York City.

Author photograph © Lisa Silvestri


Steven Gimbel
Albert Einstein: His Space and Times

Steven Gimbel is the Edwin T. and Cynthia Shearer Johnson Chair for Distinguished Teaching in the Humanities as well as chair of the philosophy department at Gettysburg College. He lives in Mount Airy, MD.


Vivian Gornick
Emma Goldman: Revolution as a Way of Life

Vivian Gornick is the author of, among other books, the acclaimed memoir Fierce Attachments and three essay collections: The End of the Novel of Love, Approaching Eye Level, and, most recently, The Men in My Life. She lives in New York City.

Author photograph © Esther Hyneman


Robert Gottlieb
Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhardt

Robert Gottlieb is the author of Lives and Letters, George Balanchine, and Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens. His career in publishing—as editor-in-chief of Simon and Schuster, Alfred A. Knopf, and The New Yorker—is legendary.

Author photograph © Mimi Gnoli


Hillel Halkin
Jabotinsky: A Life

Hillel Halkin is a writer, critic, and translator. He is the author of Across the Sabbath River and Yehuda Halevi, both of which won the National Jewish Book Award. His most recent book is Melisande! What Are Dreams? He lives in Israel.


Molly Haskell
Steven Spielberg: A Life in Films

Molly Haskell is a film critic and the author of five previous books, including From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies, Love and Other Infectious Diseases, and Frankly, My Dear: "Gone with the Wind" Revisited. She writes and lectures widely on film. She lives in New York City.

Author photograph © Jim Carpenter


Barry W. Holtz
Rabbi Akiva: Sage of the Talmud

Barry W. Holtz is Theodore and Florence Baumritter Professor of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He is author of five previous books and the recipient of a National Jewish Book Award. He lives in New York City.


Avner Holtzman
Hayim Nahman Bialik: Poet of Hebrew

Avner Holtzman is professor of Hebrew literature, Tel Aviv University, and a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He is author or editor of more than fifty books and has taught and extensively studied prominent modern Hebrew authors including Bialik, Micha Yosef Berdichevsky, and others.

Author photograph © Sasson Tiram


Mark Kurlansky
Hank Greenberg: The Hero Who Didn’t Want to Be One

Mark Kurlansky has written, edited, or contributed to twenty books, which have been translated into twenty-five languages and won numerous prizes. His previous books Cod, Salt, 1968, and The Food of a Younger Land were all New York Times best-sellers.

Author photograph © Sylvia Plachy


Berel Lang
Primo Levi: The Matter of a Life

Berel Lang is Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, State University of New York, Albany. He is the author or editor of twenty-one books, including Act and Idea in the Nazi Genocide, The Concept of Style, and, most recently, Philosophical Witnessing: The Holocaust as Presence. He lives in Riverdale, NY.

Author photograph © Marion Ettlinger


Yehudah Mirsky
Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution

Yehudah Mirsky is Associate Professor of the Practice of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. He served in the U.S. State Department’s human rights bureau, lived in Israel for the past decade, and has contributed to the New Republic, the Economist, and many other publications.

Author photograph © David Vaaknin


Adam Phillips
Becoming Freud: The Making of a Psychoanalyst

Adam Phillips is former Principal Child Psychotherapist at Charing Cross Hospital, London, and is now a psychoanalyst in private practice. His most recent book is One Way and Another: New and Selected Essays.

Author photograph © Jerry Bauer


Francine Prose
Peggy Guggenheim: The Shock of the Modern

New York Times best-selling author and National Book Award finalist Francine Prose has written more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, including Caravaggio and Reading Like a Writer.

Author photograph ©  Lisa Yuskavage


Itamar Rabinovich
Yitzhak Rabin: Soldier, Leader, Statesman

Itamar Rabinovich is president of The Israel Institute (Washington, D.C., and Tel Aviv); Global Distinguished Professor, New York University; and Non-Resident Distinguished Fellow, Brookings Institution. He served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States and chief negotiator with Syria from 1992–1996. He lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.


Jeffrey Rosen
Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet

Jeffrey Rosen is President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, professor of law at the George Washington University Law School, and a contributing editor of the Atlantic. His books include The Supreme Court, The Most Democratic Branch, The Naked Crowd, The Unwanted Gaze, and, as co-editor, Constitution 3.0: Freedom and Technological Change.


Joshua Rubenstein
Leon Trotsky: A Revolutionary’s Life

Joshua Rubenstein was a staff member of Amnesty International USA from 1975 to 2012 and is a longtime associate at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

Author photograph © Richard Sobol


Anita Shapira
Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel

Anita Shapira is professor emerita at Tel Aviv University, where she previously served as dean of the Faculty of Humanities and held the Ruben Merenfeld Chair for the Study of Zionism. Her previous books include Israel: A History, winner of the National Jewish Book Award. She lives in Tel Aviv.


Allen Shawn
Leonard Bernstein: An American Musician

Allen Shawn is a composer, pianist, educator, and author who lives in Vermont and teaches composition and music history at Bennington College. His previous books include Arnold Schoenberg’s Journey and Twin: A Memoir.

Author photograph ©  Alex Burgess 2014


Lee Siegel
Groucho Marx: The Comedy of Existence

Lee Siegel, author of four books and the recipient of a National Magazine Award, writes about culture and politics for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among many other publications.

Author photograph © Christina Gillham


Benjamin Taylor
Marcel Proust: The Search

Benjamin Taylor is a founding member of the Graduate Writing Program faculty at the New School and the author or editor of six previous books, including The Book of Getting Even and Saul Bellow: Letters.

Author photograph © Joanna Eldredge Morrisey


Shulamit Volkov
Walter Rathenau: Weimar’s Fallen Statesman

Shulamit Volkov is professor emerita of modern European history, Tel Aviv University. Her most recent book is Germans, Jews, and Antisemites: Trials in Emancipation. She lives in Herzliya, Israel.


Steven Weitzman
Solomon: The Lure of Wisdom

Steven Weitzman is the Daniel E. Koshland Professor of Jewish Culture and Religion at Stanford University. He was awarded the Gustave O. Arlt Prize for Outstanding Scholarship in the Humanities for his first book, Song and Story in Biblical Narrative, and has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Yad-Hanadiv Foundation. His other books include Surviving Sacrilege and The Jews: A History.


David Wolpe
David: The Divided Heart

David Wolpe is the rabbi of the Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, the largest Conservative congregation west of the Mississippi River. He is the author of seven books, including the national best-seller Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.


Yair Zakovitch
Jacob: Unexpected Patriarch

Yair Zakovitch is Emeritus Father Takeji Otsuki Professor of Bible, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Professor of Jewish Peoplehood, Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya. He is author of numerous commentaries and monographs on the Hebrew Bible, and co-author (with Avigdor Shinan) of two Israeli bestsellers. He lives in Israel.

Author photograph © Valerie Zakovitch


Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg
Moses: A Human Life

Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg lectures on the Hebrew Bible and rabbinic thought at academic, psychoanalytic, and Jewish educational institutions around the world. In 1995 she received the National Jewish Book Award for Genesis: The Beginning of Desire. She lives in Jerusalem.

Author photograph © Joan Roth