Celebrating Jewish Literature: Secrets, race and tragedy

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

“The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store” 

It only took a few pages for me to realize I was in the hands of a master writer. James McBride’s “The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store” (Riverhead Books) is a funny, moving, wise work that will remain with readers lon…

Celebrating Jewish Literature: Out of the closet

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Academic study vs. memoir, objective analysis vs. subjective examination: these describe the difference between two recent works: “Queer Judaism: LGBT Activism and the Remaking of Jewish Orthodoxy in Israel” by Orit Avishai (New York University Press) and “Lat…

Celebrating Jewish Literature: The puzzle of Poland

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

The largest number of Righteous Gentiles (those who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II) listed at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, are Poles with 7,232 known rescuers. Unfortunately, after the war, Polish partisan groups searched …

Celebrating Jewish Literature: Rom-com heaven

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

I got a little carried away recently when asking for review copies of rom-coms. It’s just that these novels sounded interesting and different enough from each other that I wanted to read them all. One author always features characters who have health problems, som…

Celebrating Jewish Literature: The past and the present

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

I periodically say, “That’s it. No more Holocaust novels for at least a few months.” Then something happens – a book gets great reviews, an author I really like publishes a book or a PR person suggests something that sounds interesting – and I once again h…