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Once again, the perennial High Holiday dilemma

By Bill Simons

It is mid-afternoon on a mellow September day in the mid-1950s. Several young men of high school age play ball at Kiley Field in Lynn, MA. Members (alephs) of the local chapter of AZA, a Jewish fraternal group, they are taking a break from a long day of synagogue prayer. Nei…

On the Jewish Food Scene: Jews and Chinese food

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman


When I was growing up, there was only one Chinese restaurant in Broome County. I don’t remember anything about it except it was located on the Vestal Parkway, which in those days was a fairly long trip from Endwell. On the other hand, I do have fond memories o…

Bicycles, magic and new gods: three novels

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman


On a bicycle built for one

Annie Cohen Kopchovsky’s life was like that of many 20-something Jewish women in Boston during the late 19th century: an arranged marriage, a husband who spent most of his time at the synagogue or reading, and three young children.…

Teens, in the present day and times past

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Contemporary America 
What does that word mean? What are those initials for? And that game, how do you play it? Those were some of my thoughts when reading two recent novels that take place in contemporary America. Fortunately, an internet search answered my quest…

Jewish sages and Jewish wisdom

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Jewish sages
When people discuss the Talmud, they usually speak about its legal (halachic) aspects. However, its pages are also filled with aggadic material – stories about the ancient rabbis that were used to teach lessons or illustrate a point. In “The Snake a…