The Temple Concord Sisterhood will hold its annual book talk featuring Rabbi Rachel Esserman on Sunday, January 29, at 11 am, at the synagogue, 9 Riverside Dr., Binghamton. This is an in-person event only and will take place in the mansion. Brunch will be served at no cost. The event is open to the community. Reservations must be made by Wednesday, January 25, to Phyllis Kellenberger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-727-8305. The snow date will be Sunday, February 5.
Esserman will discuss three books : “Shanda: A Memoir of Shame and Secrecy” by Letty Cottin Porgrebin, “From Dust, A Flame” by Rebecca Podos and “Village Idiot” by Steve Stern.
Esserman said, “I’m once again looking forward to one of my favorite events of the year. It’s always a pleasure to talk about books and it’s an extra pleasure to be doing it with members of Sisterhood. For the third year, I’m including a nonfiction work by request. As happens every year, I have not read the books yet since I want them fresh in my mind for the review. But I’m looking forward to reading the books, writing my notes up and sharing them at this always fun event.”
“Shanda: A Memoir of Shame and Secrecy” is a memoir by the noted feminist that tells of the secrets and lies kept by her family, and how they affected her life. “From Dust, A Flame” is a young adult fantasy filled with mystery and suspense that takes place in contemporary times. “Village Idiot” is a novel about Jewish artist Chaim Soutine, which has been described as both “heartbreaking and funny.”
Esserman, the executive editor and book reviewer for The Reporter Group, noted this year she won three Syracuse Press Club awards and one Rockower award from the American Jewish Press Association. Last year, she won two Syracuse Press Club awards and two Rockowers.
She also serves as the Jewish chaplain for Broome Developmental Disabilities Service Office. Her work has been published in “The Women’s Torah Commentary” and “The Women’s Haftarah Commentary” both by Jewish Lights Publishing. She also has had a book of poetry, “I Stand by The River,” published by Keshet Press of Temple Concord. A Reconstructionist rabbi who says her first love is teaching, she sees her position at The Reporter as an opportunity to educate the public about Judaism.
In addition, Esserman is a freelance rabbi who performs lifecycle events, hospital visits and chaplaincy. She is rabbi-on-call when needed by local Reform and Conservative synagogues. Her education includes a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, and rabbinic ordination and master of arts in Hebrew letters from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Wyncote, PA.