Welcome to my Resources section, a curated list of the books, tools, and websites I use and strongly recommend for learning and for teaching others. I have tested every recommendation on this page. Many of the resources listed here have been crucial to my own learning and to how I teach online today.
Before digging into the awesome resources I know and trust, an important disclosure:
Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these resources, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make (which do help keep this website up) if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
Getting Started with Jewish Learning
The first thing I think everyone needs in order to explore Jewish wisdom is a sturdy Tanakh – the Jewish Bible. This is the one I use and recommend to all my students, because in my experience it has both the traditional Hebrew text (great for gradually learning the language) AND the best translation available. This latest translation from the Jewish Publication Society is both accessible in vernacular English and also most faithful to the original meaning of the Hebrew.
My first book, published in March 2018. It’s not for everyone, but I wrote it because I thought it might be just right for you. Available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle…Audiobook coming soon!
For People Converting to Judaism
Here are the books I recommend, in no particular order, for those students who are considering converting to Judaism. Some of them helped me in my journey; others I’ve discovered since as helpful to my students. I personally recommend all of them as helpful in their own way.
It’s a Mitzvah!: Step-by-Step to Jewish Living by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
Jewish Holidays by Rabbi Michael Strassfeld
This Is My God by Herman Wouk
The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays by Rabbi Irving Greenberg
Choosing a Jewish Life by Anita Diamant
To Pray as a Jew by Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin
Jewish Literacy by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
To Life! by Rabbi Harold Kushner
Jewish Holiday Cookbook by Joan Nathan
If you find other books that have been helpful for you, please let me know! I’d be happy to review them and recommend them to my students.
If you’re interested in teaching online like I do, here are some useful tools and resources that I have used personally and continue to recommend.
Amy Landino (formerly Schmittauer) is my rabbi when it comes to making online video. Her advice has been critical, not only on the technical side of crafting, uploading, and promoting the videos I use to teach online, but also in how to make those videos most useful and effective for the people I want to teach (like you). This book boils down her years of experience and hundreds of how-to videos into an accessible quick-start guide for anyone who wants to use online video to spread their message.
I put this here not to shill for Apple, but to encourage you to start where you are with what you already have. I’ve shot most of my videos for YouTube using the camera on my phone. I recently upgraded to the iPhoneX, and I’ve been pleased with the results, but you can now shoot high-quality videos using any modern smartphone.
It turns out that YouTube viewers are way more discriminating when it comes to sound quality than they are about video quality: Viewers are more likely watch a blurry, poorly lit video with good sound than a beautiful video with a lot of static, echo, or background noise. Plug one end of this handy lavalier microphone into the headphone jack on your phone, clip the other end to your shirt, and record you video. You’ll be amazed and the instant improvement in your sound quality, and your audience will thank you by watching more of your videos.
This is a great starter mic for podcasting. It plugs right into your computer via USB (also has a XLR port for more advanced use), and it sounds 98% as good as microphones that cost many times its price.
Mount your mic to your desk, table, or what have you, for hands-free recording. The stand is portable and easy to attach and remove to suit your needs for flexibility.
This is a great and inexpensive solution to those noises than can spoil a good podcast. The wind screen / pop filter keeps your plosives (“b” and “p”sounds) from distorting your recording, and the shock mount will keep out the sounds of accidentally bumping the table or accidentally living next to a major highway (both true for me).
Editing Software for Video and Audio
I use YouTuber-favorite Adobe Premiere Pro for editing my videos and Adobe Audition for sweetening the sound of my videos as well as editing podcast audio. Sometimes I’ll touch up graphics in Photoshop. The interoperability is superb, and I’ve save countless hours using this fine suite of products.
I built and host this website using StudioPress Sites. Sure, it costs more per month than simply throwing up a WordPress site on a cheap-o hosting service, but premium theme library, the back-end stuff I no longer have to deal with (including security!), and the service make it a bargain in my book.
Managing Your Email List
This is my favorite tool I’ve used for getting connected and staying connected to people who value my teaching. A little pricier than Aweber and MailChimp, but sooo worth it. Easy to set up, easy to use, and full of features that allow me to get to know my readers, listeners, and viewers better so I can then serve you better. If you have an email list (or want one), this is the tool to use. And of course, if you know my back story, the irony of the name of this service is not lost on me. 🙂
Beautiful Graphics for the Non-Designer
That’s me. And maybe you. But we don’t need to suffer bad design – or pay through the nose for good design – anymore. Canva can help you make anything pretty, with pre-formatted templates for everything from YouTube thumbnails to Instagram posts to event flyers. Love this app.