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Off the Shelf: What does a rabbi think about that?

 by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Different opinions and rabbinic debate: those were staples of Jewish religious dialogue as Judaism moved from a sacrificial-based religion to a prayer-based one. As technology changed so did debates on what Judaism thinks about everything from electricity to plant…

Off the Shelf: Women and the war over kosher meat prices

 by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

“We’re not making riots... But if we cry at home, nobody sees us. We have to help ourselves.” Those were the words Rose Baskin spoke to City Magistrate Robert C. Cornell during her trial at the Essex Market Police Court on May 16, 1902. Although she received…

Off the Shelf: Nils Shapiro returns by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

While I read a few classic mysteries in college (the works of Dashiell Hammett and Dorothy L. Sayers, for example), I didn’t follow any contemporary series. That changed after reading Stuart Kaminsky’s “Murder on the Yellow Brick Road,” which arrived as a bonus book from a mail-order…

Off the Shelf: Religion, gender and time by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

“Time is one of the most basic examples of something that is socially constructed. We collectively create the meaning of time – it has no predetermined meaning until we give it meaning. To say that something, like time, is a social [construct] is not to say that it doesn’t exist or it …

Off the Shelf: Life in India by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Rachel Meyer already hates the phrase she’s heard far too many times since she moved to Mumbai, India, with her husband, Dhruv: “Get used to it.” It’s as if India demands that she change her basic nature in order to make a home there. It doesn’t help that she and Dhruv married and …