Which is a pretty contentious question, and an odd one to ask as an atheist. My question is: what are the strengths and weaknesses of the different English translations of the Bible?
Readability, enjoyability of that read (poeticness would be a factor if it was a word) and a certain amount of consistency to the source material are all factors. I'm mostly interested in the Old Testament: It's got some pretty cool stories, I celebrate Jewish holidays with my Jewish friends and I want to know what's going on, and it's a little bit about making fun of Christians.
I haven't found any satisfactory answer on the interwebs or on the nexus. There's too much information that I can't adequately filter and, besides, I want you know you lovely peoples opinions.
(Something I've heard: Richard Dawkins likes The King James Version because of the poetic Elizabethan Prose)
My two cents as a Bible B.A. is KJV is horrible. Words are intentionally mistranslated and the English is too outdated to be easily understandable. I would highly recommend anyone wanting to do in depth Biblical studies to learn Hebrew, then Koine Greek. Mainly because all versions are translations, and all translations detract from the original language. Especially when it comes to an ancient language!
However, if you must use an English translation, I swear by Holman Christian Standard. After that, I will use the ESV or RSV.
You said you are Jewish though, do any of your friends speak or understand Hebrew? Or do you have any interest in learning? It may better educate your understanding of Judaism and especially that of the Old Testament.