Do you know how many books there are in the Bible? Can you imagine that the answer depends on who you ask, and ranges from 39 to 50?

In a provocative three-part series, titled “Books of the Bible Nobody Reads,” Rabbi David Nesson, spiritual leader of MoDAVIDNESSONrristown Jewish Center–Beit Yisrael in Morristown, explored some of the lesser-known books of the Bible. His classes, which are free and open to the public, were held at the Morris County Library, 30 E. Hanover Ave. (across from the Frelinghuysen Arboretum), in Whippany, on Tuesday, March 17, at 1 p.m.; and Mondays, March 23 and 30, at noon.

The series was presented under the auspices of National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), West Morris Section’s Our Jewish World, coordinated by Ellen Nesson and Melanie Levitan, both of Morristown.

In his series, Rabbi Nesson considered the following questions:

  • Who decided which books got into the Bible and which didn’t?
  • What is the shortest book in the Bible and why is Malachi the last?
  • Are the holidays of Hanukkah and Purim in the Bible?

The seminar leader delved into what happened to the books that did not make it into the Bible, and why some books have two parts, including Samuel 1 and 2?

“Through history and text, we will see that there is more to the Bible than meets the eye,” promised Rabbi Nesson.

A renowned speaker and community leader, Rabbi Nesson serves on the Board of Directors of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. He was a founder and first chairman of the MetroWest Rabbinic Cabinet and serves on the Religious Pluralism Committee. He served on the Board of the Gottesman RTW Hebrew Academy (formerly the Hebrew Academy of Morris County) and continues on the Rabbinic Council, as well as the Rabbinic Council of the Golda Och Academy. He is a member of the New York Board of Rabbis and the New Jersey Region of the Rabbinical Assembly, where he served as a vice president. He also served on the national scene as chair of the Rabbinical Assembly’s Continuing Education Committee.

Rabbi Nesson is also a passionate teacher. He teaches adult education classes in History, Talmud, Kabbalah, Bible and Philosophy. He has also participated in several summer rabbinic seminars at the Hartman Institute and he has brought Hartman programs to MJCBY and the larger community.

The National Council of Jewish Women is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. For further information about NCJW, West Morris, visit