Genre tips

#AtoZChallenge: Genres–Jewish Fiction

The A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post 26 articles on a themed topic. It’s supposed to be every day except Sundays during the month of April but I find that too busy and decided to post mine ‘about’ once a month. Yes, it’ll take me a couple of years. Sigh.

My topic, like the last three times, will be writing genres.

This genre:

Jewish Fiction


fiction written about Jewish themes, religions, concerns

Tipsa to z

  1. The story must speak to the Jewish experience, clarify and enhance the Jewish identity.
  2. The story should work toward understanding the Jewish community.
  3. The Jewish community is diverse, international, and multi-continent.
  4. The story should display a deeply rooted belief in the power of words to create and re-create reality.
  5. There is no ‘right’ way to develop Jewish characters, plots, and stories because they are so diverse but there are ‘wrong’ ways. See above.
  6. Understand how religious your character is. That will make a big difference in how s/he is portrayed in the story.
  7. You may want to know where your characters came from originally. For example, Sephardi Jews (from Spain, Southern Europe, Middle East) have different customs from Ashkenazi.
  8. Be aware of Jewish stereotypes, like the rich Jewish financial CEO. It will sound like a stereotype so approach it carefully.
  9. Judaism is culture and religion.

Popular Books

  1. Tevye The Dairyman by Sholem Aleichem
  2. Rabbis and Wives by Chaim Grade
  3. The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  4. The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories by Cynthia Ozick
  5. Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
  6. The Big Book of Jewish Humor by William Novak and Moshe Waldoks
  7. Herzog by Saul Bellow
  8. The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson

BTW: If the book you’ve written fits into any of these genres, let me know in the comments and I’ll include you, the book title, and where to purchase it.

Click for complete list of these 26 genres

Click for a complete list of all genres I’ve written about

More J Genres:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, July 2021.


46 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: Genres–Jewish Fiction

  1. None of these are by me, but …
    My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
    Father Elijah: An Apocalypse by Michael D. O’Brien
    The Hereville graphic novels by Barry Deutsch, which star Mirka, “yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl”
    Golem by David Wisniewski (a kids’ book)
    The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
    Maus by Artie Spiegelman (a Holocaust book)
    The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom stars Corrie and her family, who are goyim, but it does have some delightful Jewish characters, notably Meyer Mossel

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m another one that didn’t know this was a genre. One of the characters in the story I’m working on right now is an Arab American kid whose family practices Islam. I know you are someone who puts in a lot of research into her stories, and I’m finding myself having to do that quite a bit. I’m trying to be factually accurate without being stereotypical.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Jacqui – I certainly don’t know very much at all about this genre, nor about the authors – though have heard of a couple and one book … but fascinating to have your details here and recommendations – thank you … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I had no idea this was a genre. I’ve read a number of books with Jewish characters that touched on lifestyle and beliefs, but not one specifically built around religion.Most interesting, Jacqui!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My sister used to work at a Jewish newspaper. One of her duties was as their book reviewer, and they read and reviewed exclusively Jewish literature. Other than that, this is the first I’ve seen anyone mention the genre. Nice to see it referenced again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I haven’t read it but I would like to read a few on that list. There’s another ‘The Chosen’, a series of videos about the life of Christ. Interesting it has the same name as this one and they’re both themed with religion.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Don’t think I have ever read any Jewish literature. I have read books by Israeli authors but not Jewish literature. Wait…I hope I am not making a faux pas here. One of the last books I read was Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, who calls himself an Israeli historian. Does that also make his Jewish? I suppose not. I suppose I need to find out 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    • For this genre, the book must be themed to the religious struggle. I’ve read Sapiens–an excellent book by a well-qualified author. It wouldn’t fit this genre. I like reading literature about struggle and survival so most of these would qualify (I think–I haven’t read any of them).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have recently read three stories (one of which was a memoir and one based on a true story and the other fiction but based on fact) of the Jewish experience in World War II. I guess they qualify.

    Liked by 2 people

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