The list author is Michelle Anne Schingler, a former librarian and Hebrew school teacher, is an associate editor at ForeWord Reviews. Michelle introduces her list with a personal comment about why she compiled the list:
Reading through the diverse and ever-expanding Jewish literary canon is a natural way to work toward understanding a community that, while comparatively small, is incredibly diverse. This list draws Jewish voices in from all corners of the diaspora, from several continents as well as from Israel itself. The voices on it have different conceptions of what it means to be Jewish; some of these novels embrace the tradition self-consciously, some are more ambivalent about it, and some don’t mention religious traditions at all.
Of all the angels in heaven, Asenath, you are the most perverse, because you actually want to stay. Here we are on another bright Heavenly morning, well, you know what I mean, our light here can be so provoking — so what if we call it morning, what’s wrong with that? Yes, I know it’s afternoon, but these afternoons might as well be mornings. Always bright. Always Heavenly. And we angels hovering around in Boylston Hall to watch you and the Dean.
In Asenath and the Origin of Nappy Hair, the poet John Milton remembers meeting my character, Shirah Shulamit, “How I remember our walk, you and I, hand in hand, with lingering steps and slow, from the Carnegie Library at Seventh and K, the H Street bus, Benning Road, across the Anacostia River, Kenilworth Avenue to Mayfair Mansions and Eastland Gardens and the Garden of Converging Paths in Kenilworth and then uptown to your family’s new house in the Takoma neighborhood of Washington, DC.