In creating your synagogue library, there are a number of factors to consider. Your budget, available shelf volume, and the reading and study habits of your patrons are some of the most important things to keep in mind. Your collection should include reference books, prayerbooks, well-known Jewish classics, books for younger readers, new books, reference CD-ROMS such as Soncinos Judaic Classics on CD-ROM, and current periodicals. Always remember to leave room for new acquisitions. As a general rule of thumb, dont display more than 2 copies of a general circulating book. Whether you have a cataloging system or not, your books should at the very least be categorized and neatly ordered on the shelves. Below you will find a list of categories you may wish to use and some sample books that fit under each heading:
Bible and Biblical Studies
Plaut, Gunther, and Stein, David S., eds. The Torah: A Modern Commentary, Revised Edition. URJ Press, New York, 2005
Sarna, Nahum S. Understanding Genesis.. Schocken Books, NY, 1970.
Classical Judaica: Halakhah and Midrash
Borowitz, Eugene, ed. Theological Terms in the Talmud. Ilonka Samke Institute at HUC-JIR. New York, 1998.
Klein, Isaac. A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice. Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, 1992
Washofsky, Mark. Jewish Living: A Guide to Contemporary Reform Practice. UAHC Press, NY, 2000
Abraham, Michelle Shapiro. CHAI Learning for Jewish Life: Level 4 Curriculum Core. UAHC Press, New York, 2003
Mandel, Scott. Wired Into Judaism: The Internet and Jewish Education. A.R.E. Publishing, Inc., Denver, 2000
Hebrew, Jewish Languages and Sciences
Bogot, Howard. My First 100 Hebrew Words: a young persons dictionary of Judaism. UAHC Press, NY, 1993
Glinert, Lewis. The Joys of Hebrew. OxfordUniversity Press, Oxford, 1992
Malamud, Bernard. The Fixer. Penguin Books, New York, 1967.
Waxman, Meyer. A History of Jewish Literature, Vol. I. Bloch Publishing Co. New York, 1938.
The Jewish Community: Society and the Arts
Sartre, Jean-Paul. Anti-Semite and Jew. Schocken Books, NY. 1966.
Zakim, Leonard. Confronting Anti-Semitism. KTAV Publishing House, Inc. Hoboken, 2000
Jewish History, Geography, Biography
Ben-Sasson, H.H. A History of the Jewish People. HarvardUniversity Press, Cambridge, MA. 1976
Lamm, Maurice. Living Torah in America. Behrman House, Inc. West Orange, 1993
Israel and Zionism
Collins, Larry. O Jerusalem. Simon and Schuster, NY, 1972
Herzl, Theodor. The Jews State: a critical English translation. Jason Aronson, Northvale, 1996.
Alcalay, Reuben. The Complete Hebrew-English Dictionary. Chemed Books, Brooklyn, 1996.
Crystal, David. The Cambridge Encyclopedia. BCA, London, 1994.
These categories are the categories used in the Elazar system of cataloguing, a classification system for Judaica libraries based on the Dewey Decimal System. The full classification scheme (ten major classes and ninety-nine internal divisions) along with expository notes and an elegant introductory essay can be found in A Classification System for Libraries of Judaica: David H. Elazar and Daniel J. Elazar, Jason Aronson, 1997, 3rd Revised edition.