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Welcome to the Jewish Lives Book Club

Join communities around the world for a global reading group program with Melton and Jewish Lives!

Participants receive 40% off + free shipping along with a free reading guide developed by the author, and join a free virtual author event—livestreamed from the Park Avenue Synagogue** in NYC (which also hosts a vibrant Melton school).

How to Register

To sign-up, order Menasseh ben Israel using the discount code below.
You'll then hear from Melton with more program details within two weeks after placing your order.

To receive 40% off + free shipping, use code MELTONSPRING at checkout.

For orders outside the U.S + Canada, please email Please include your complete shipping address and phone number. Thank you!

Menasseh ben Israel: Rabbi of Amsterdam
By Steven Nadler

“Lucid and engaging” —Russell Shorto, author of The Island at the Center of the World

An illuminating biography of the great Amsterdam rabbi and celebrated popularizer of Judaism in the seventeenth century

Menasseh ben Israel (1604–1657) was among the most accomplished and cosmopolitan rabbis of his time, and a pivotal intellectual figure in early modern Jewish history. He was one of the three rabbis of the “Portuguese Nation” in Amsterdam, a community that quickly earned renown worldwide for its mercantile and scholarly vitality.

Born in Lisbon, Menasseh and his family were forcibly converted to Catholicism but suspected of insincerity in their new faith. To avoid the horrors of the Inquisition, they fled first to southwestern France, and then to Amsterdam, where they finally settled. Menasseh played an important role during the formative decades of one of the most vital Jewish communities of early modern Europe, and was influential through his extraordinary work as a printer and his efforts on behalf of the readmission of Jews to England. In this lively biography, Steven Nadler provides a fresh perspective on this seminal figure.

Online Book Discussion with
Rabbi Rachel Bovitz, Melton Executive Director

Thursday, March 7, 2019
5:00 pm EST

Virtual Author Event with Steven Nadler
Thursday, March 14, 2019
7:00 p.m. EST


"This first-class biography . . . is highly revelatory . . . Nadler’s exceptional reclaiming of the life and times of Menasseh ben Israel – a 17th-century equivalent of Herzl for British Jews – is published in Yale University’s excellent Jewish Lives series." —Jerusalem Post Magazine

“In this lucid and engaging biography, Menasseh ben Israel emerges as a force of nature, moving swiftly and easily between the Jewish and Gentile spheres in Amsterdam. In recreating Menasseh's life, Nadler has stitched together some of the leading figures of the century into a vivid tapestry.” —Russell Shorto, author of The Island at the Center of the World

"Fluidly written, lively, and truly excellent from every point of view, this book portrays Menasseh's role in the development of Amsterdam Jewish life and learning and in the broad context of seventeenth-century Jewish-Christian intellectual relations." —Jonathan Israel, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

"Excellent." —Rabbi A. James Rudin, Reform Judaism

**All Jewish Lives events will be livestreamed and recorded. A video recording will be available within two weeks following the event.

Questions?  Contact Jody Hyman at or Rebecca Keys at