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The Schmooze

An Exclusive Peek Inside Ben Shapiro’s Very Jewish Bookshelf

On Sunday, Vanity Fair published a lengthy profile on Ben Shapiro’s rise to fame — but all Jewish Twitter seemed to care about was Shapiro’s bookshelf.

I was immediately intrigued by the fact that Shapiro’s bookshelf featured the Hebrew/English version of the Mishnah (the codified version of the Oral Law) published by Artscroll, and the Hebrew/English version of the Talmud (which includes rabbinic elucidation of this law, referred to as the Gemara) published by their biggest competitor, Koren. Though their titles are not clearly visible in the Vanity Fair photo, their spines are easily identifiable to Anglo Jews who study Torah regularly.

I wasn’t alone in my curiosity. Dovid Bashevkin, Director of Education for the Orthodox youth organization NCSY, tweeted:

Others attempted to identify other books on the shelves:

We reached out to Shapiro to set the record straight.

Many have noticed the unconventional choice of having an Artscroll Mishnah set and a Koren Talmud set. How did you choose which editions of the Mishnah, Talmud, and other works to purchase?

Ben Shapiro: My dad has a lot of the Artscroll Gemara, so I’ve diversified.

How many Sefarim (Judaica books) would you estimate you own?

BS: I haven’t counted; probably a couple hundred.

What books are the most often pulled off the shelf?

BS: Aruch Hashulchan, Tanach, Mesilat Yesharim, Gemara

To set the record straight once and for all, here’s the official unblurry view of Shapiro’s Sefarim:

The left-hand side of Ben Shapiro’s Sefarim shelf Image by Courtesy Ben Shapiro

The right-hand side of Ben Shapiro’s Sefarim shelf Image by Courtesy Ben Shapiro

Now we can get back to debating about his politics.

Laura E. Adkins is the Forward’s deputy opinion editor. Contact her at or on Twitter, @Laura_E_Adkins




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