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5 recommended Israeli books for Yom Kippur

By Linoy Barokas, UJS Shlicha

Credit to Israel21c 
Yom Kippur is our time of year for contemplation. To stop the daily hustle and bustle, to look at the past year and seek forgiveness from our friends and relatives but also from ourselves. For me, Yom Kippur is also a moment to disconnect from technology, from social media, and take time for myself. My family’s plan on Yom Kippur is to read as much as possible. Books, newspapers, crosswords, and sudoku, you can find everything in our house in Tel Aviv. I believe that a good book helps to pass the fast more easily, and therefore I have included here five recommended Israeli books for Yom Kippur - which you can also find on Amazon UK. 


1. The Coincidence Makers by Yoav Blum 


In this genre-bending novel, there is no such thing as chance and every action is carefully executed by highly trained agents. You’ll never look at coincidences the same way again.

Linoy’s note: This is one of my favourite books, from the moment I laid my hands on it I finished it in a few hours. Highly recommended! 


2. My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum CleanerA Family Memoirby Meir Shalev 


Author Meir Shalev’s grandmother Tonia left Russia for pre-state Israel in 1923, and from then on lived in a constant battle. Not against the British Mandate or the disease-stricken environment, but against the real enemy: dirt. 

To aid her in her fight, Tonia received a vacuum cleaner from a rich uncle in America, but as could be expected, it was pretty much kept under lock and barrel for years to come. 

A tale of family, pioneers and countryside living, this is a fun, easy-going book from one of Israel’s favourite authors. 

Linoy’s note: Meir Shalev is a brilliant writer who knows how to tell a story in a wonderful and funny way. Unfortunately, he passed away this April. Reading one of his books is a great opportunity to get to know him and his life story.  


3. Missing Kissingerby Etgar Keret


One of Israel’s most celebrated writers, Etgar Keret is a maestro when it comes to short stories. Missing Kissinger, perhaps his most iconic work, bears all his hallmarks – fun, witty and absurd stories that always manage to touch our hearts. 

Linoy’s note: Etgar Kerat is an excellent writer whose stories are light and funny, ones that leave you thinking and reflecting on them long after the story ends. worth reading! 


4Someone to Run With by David Grossman


Someone to Run With tells the story of a lost dog, and the discovery of first love on the streets of Jerusalem, portrayed here with a gritty realism that is as fresh as it is compelling. 
David Grossman, the author of six novels and three works of nonfiction, is considered one of Israel's finest and most contentious writers. 

Linoy’s note: A book that accompanied me during my time living in Jerusalem. Many of the places described in the book can be found in the city and identified from the descriptions. A special book that you can't put down, and David Grossman is a writer who knows how to write with sensitivity and precisely every feeling as if we were right there with the characters. 


5. Three Floors Up by  Eshkol Nevo


Set in an upper-middle-class Tel Aviv apartment building, this best-selling and warmly acclaimed Israeli novel examines the interconnected lives of its residents, whose turmoils, secrets, unreliable confessions, and problematic decisions reveal a society in the midst of an identity crisis. A brilliant novelist, Eshkol Nevo vividly depicts how the grinding effects of social and political ills play out in the psyche of his flawed yet compelling characters, in often unexpected and explosive ways. 

Linoy’s note: Eshkol Nevo is a famous Israeli author with a series of excellent books, each of which is more intriguing than the other. The book "Three Floors Up" was one of the first books I read of him, and since then I always look in the bookstore to see if he has a new book out. In addition, a play and a movie were made about this book specifically, which were also very successful in Israel. 


Happy reading and wishing you a G’Mar Chatima Tova!