Off the Shelf: Reviewing the Past

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” – L. P. Hartley

L. P. Hartley’s statement came to mind after reading Cynthia Ozick’s short novel “Antiquities” (Alfred A. Knopf) and Edmund De Waal’s musings in “Letters to Camondo…

Off the Shelf: Soviet Jews in Russia and the US

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Post-Soviet Union Jewish identity: is there such a thing? It’s difficult to come up with a specific name for those who once lived in what is now the former U.S.S.R.: Soviet Jews, Russian Jews, or Jews-whose-identity-card-may-have-said-they-were-Jewish-but-who-don…

Off the Shelf: They Fought Back

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Readers might think there are no more World War II stories to tell. Yet, new nonfiction works appear on a regular basis. Sometimes, it’s because a researcher takes an interest in a different aspect of the war or because top-secret files have finally been declassif…

Medical Bracelets Funded by Bat Mitzvah Project

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

This bat mitzvah project was personal. Shayna Foreman, the daughter of Abbi and Brett Foreman of Vestal, used the money she raised from her bat mitzvah project to buy medical alert bracelets because she knew their importance: two years ago, two friends of hers were …

Fathers' Day

By Bill Simons

On a Father’s Day several years ago, my father, my son and I stood before a large wall mirror adjusting our ties as we prepared to join the rest of the family. In the mirror image, the three generations were looking good – and upbeat. Then, my father turned to the empty s…