Book Reviews

Celebrating Jewish Literature Essays about the disappearing Yiddish culture

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote so many essays for the Forward newspaper that many were published under pseudonyms. David Stromberg, who translated and edited “Isaac Bashevis Singer Writings on Yiddish and Yiddishkayt: The War Years, 1939-1945” (White Goat Press)*, …

Celebrating Jewish Literature: The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

The Hebrew word used in the Bible for the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which was found in the Garden of Eden, is peri, a generic word meaning any kind of fruit. Yet, when most people think of the story, they visualize that fruit as an apple. As Azzan Yadin-Israel…

Celebrating Jewish Literature: Novels about the war and its aftermath

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

I’ve written before about the times I’ve thrown up my hands and said, “That’s it! No more books about World War II, the Holocaust or their aftermath.” At one point, I even crossed off two of the books featured in this review from my “to ask for” list. …

Celebrating Jewish Literature: Converts, returnees and the Inquisition

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

When most people think of the Inquisition, they think of the Spanish Inquisition, which was established by King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1478. However, the Inquisition began more than 200 years before and understanding its developmen…

Off the Shelf: Angels, alternative worlds and Jewish themes

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

The best part of reading novels based on Jewish fantasy and folklore is the wide range of material offered. If you add real-life settings (well, at least, for parts of the book), then you create the elements for some of my favorite genre reading. What is particularl…