best books to read in hebrew
Reading in Hebrew can be an enriching experience, whether you're studying the language or seeking insight into Israeli culture and history. Here are some of the best books (across various genres) to read in Hebrew:
The Tanakh (Hebrew Bible): Consisting of the Torah (Pentateuch), Nevi'im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings), this is foundational to both Jewish religion and Hebrew literature.
"Tmol Shilshom" (Only Yesterday) by S.Y. Agnon: A classic work by the Nobel Prize-winning author, this novel portrays early Zionist settlers in the Land of Israel.
"Me'al HaMa'im" (Over the Waters) by Amos Oz: A collection of short stories from one of Israel's most famous authors.
"Katerina" by Aharon Appelfeld: A tale that dives deep into Jewish history, identity, and the Holocaust, told through the eyes of an old prostitute looking back at her life.
"Lo Odecha" (I Shall Not See You) by Alona Kimhi: This novel explores the impact of the Yom Kippur War on Israeli society.
"Hetziya" (The Island) by Michal Ben-Naftali: A meditation on the traumas of the Holocaust and their echoes in modern Israel.
"Ayen Erech: Ahava" (Indirect: Love) by Yehoshua Kenaz: The novel provides a detailed picture of Israeli society and the human psyche.
Works of Yehuda Amichai: Often considered one of Israel's greatest poets, Amichai's works delve into love, war, and Jewish identity.
Works of Rachel Bluwstein (often just "Rachel"): One of the first modern Hebrew poets, Rachel's poems are deeply connected to the land of Israel.
Children's Books (great for those starting to learn Hebrew):
"HaBayit Shel Yadid" (Yadid's House) by Miriam Roth: A classic Israeli children's book.
"Eifo Gavish?" (Where is Gavish?) by Nira Harel: A fun search-and-find book.
"Tzila" by David Grossman: The author tries to understand his mother's life by delving into her childhood in Poland and her experiences during World War II.
"Sipur Israeli" (Israeli Story) by Yossi Klein Halevi: This explores the complexities of Israeli society by delving into the personal stories of individuals.
While this is not an exhaustive list, these titles provide a mix of classic and contemporary, fiction and non-fiction, all contributing to the rich tapestry of Hebrew literature. If you're learning Hebrew, beginning with children's books or young adult novels might be more accessible before diving into complex literary works.