From the Executive Editor

In my own words: Judaic and ethnic studies

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Although specific groups in the United States may have always had an interest in ethnic studies, most formal programs only began to flourish during the late 1960s, particularly in colleges and universities. The Judaic Studies Department at Binghamton University bega…

In My Own Words: A guaranteed day off

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Remember the Blue Laws? For readers who are too young to remember, the Blue Laws meant that businesses and stores were required to be closed on Sundays. In their strictest form, many leisure activities were also forbidden and alcohol was not allowed to be served in …

In My Own Words: My life as a reader

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

“Wait! You read the books!” 

That quote was an answer to a comment I made about the books I review for the paper. It’s not the first time someone was surprised by that I actually read the books: my other friend thought I just skimmed them. I confess to peri…

In My own Words: Appreciating life’s quiet moments

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

I am not particularly adventurous. When I was young, friends would suggest a questionable activity and try to convince me to go along by asking, “Why not?” I would answer, “Sorry, I want a good reason for doing it.” Years later, I read a science article that…

In My Own Words: Poetry and revisiting the past

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

The Facebook friend request came with a message. Someone I haven’t seen for more than 20 years tracked me down and discovered I was still working. What provoked this search is that the informal Zoom minyan she takes part in had recently been discussing poetry and…