What are three books you love to teach to undergraduates?

David N. Myers


Gerson Cohen, "The Blessing of Assimilation in Jewish History," in Jewish History and Jewish Destiny (Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1997)

Delivered as a commencement address to Jewish educators in 1966, this lecture briefly and elegantly introduces students to a surprising key to Jewish survival: assimilation (as a ceaseless process of cultural absorption and exchange).

Baruch Spinoza, Theologico-Political Treatise, R. H. M. Elwes, trans. (Cosimo, 2005 [1670])

A foundational text of Jewish modernity published in 1670, the Theologico-Political Treatise productively challenges and confounds students' assumptions about the secular, the religious, and the roots of modern Jewish identity.

Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory (Schocken, 1989)

This seminal book exposes students to a sweeping vista onto the Jewish past, while encouraging them to think about the ways in which historians work and history is constructed.