Before we explain what the list is, we should tell you what it’s not: It’s not a list of “The Greatest Jewish Books of All Time,” an undertaking that would involve sifting through thousands of texts in dozens of languages produced over the course of millennia and that could only result in either a Cecil B. DeMille-like cast of thousands or a list with one entry: the Bible. What we wanted to create was a library of works that have actually moved us and shaped the way we understand ourselves as Jewish human beings in the world. We read some of these books as children; some we read under our covers as teenagers; some we got off college syllabi; some we discovered, with wonder and awe and surprise, as adults. But all are books of supreme importance in shaping our lives and our understanding of the different ways one might be a Jew in the world—whether the authors are religious Jews, or secular Jews, or not Jewish by your definition or someone else’s definition, or by any definition at all.