Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, named by Talk Magazine as one of the 50 best speakers in the United States, is the author of Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know about the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History. The most widely selling book on Judaism of the past two decades, Jewish Literacy has been hailed by leading figures in all the major movements of Judaism, and has been published in a third edition. In March, 2016, Touchstone/Simon and Schuster reissued Why the Jews: The Reason for Antisemitism, which Telushkin co-authored with Dennis Prager, and which Rabbi Harold Kushner hailed upon publication as "the wisest, most original and provocative book on the subject I have ever read."
In 2014, HarperCollins published Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History, a New York Times' bestseller. Hailed by Ruth Messinger as "an astounding personal biography," and by the Wall Street Journal as "mesmerizing," the book, based on five years of research, tells the story of how Menachem Mendel Schneerson took over a small movement based in Brooklyn in 1951 and turned it into the most dynamic religious movement in modern Jewish history.
Rabbi Telushkin’s earlier book, Words that Hurt, Words that Heal became the motivating force behind Senators Joseph Lieberman and Connie Mack’s 1996 Senate Resolution # 151 to establish a “National Speak No Evil Day” throughout the United States.
Jewish Humor: What the Best Jewish Jokes Say about the Jews. Larry Gelbart, author of Mash and Tootsie said that “I don’t know if Jews are really the chosen people, but I think Joseph Telushkin’s book makes a strong argument that we’re the funniest.”
Telushkin appeared in a CNN eight-part documentary on The History of Comedy broadcast in early 2017. Telushkin is also co-author with Dennis Prager of one of the most influential Jewish books published in the last forty years, The Nine Questions People Ask about Judaism, hailed by Herman Wouk as “the intelligent skeptic’s guide to Judaism.” In 1997, his novel, An Eye for an Eye, became the basis for four episodes of David Kelley’s Emmy Award-winning ABC TV series, The Practice, and he has co-written three additional episodes of the program. He also co-wrote an episode of the TV series, Touched by An Angel, for Kirk Douglas, in which Mr. Douglas starred as a man who, after a lifetime of struggle with his faith, returns to God and Judaism. Telushkin was the co-writer with David Brandes and the Associate Producer of the 1991 film, The Quarrel. The film, an American Playhouse production, and the winner of the Santa Barbara Film Festival, was released theatrically throughout the United States.
Rabbi Telushkin was ordained at Yeshiva University in New York, and pursued graduate studies in Jewish history at Columbia University. He resides in New York City with his wife, Dvorah Menashe Telushkin. They have four children.