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Book Review Stream

This stream is dedicated to articles about book reviews.

Off the Shelf: Viewing the Torah through rabbinic eyes

One of the fascinating things about Torah study is that there is always something new to learn. Sometimes these ideas can be found by mining the writings of the sages (the ancient rabbis) and other times through reading the thoughts of contemporary spiritual leaders. Both of these can be fou…

Off the Shelf: Coming of age – part two by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Confession time: reading novels about young adults, especially those set in modern times, makes me grateful that my teen years are over. That’s because these novels often focus on the teens’ fears about their future. Of course, the main characters of three of these works might feel bette…

Off the Shelf: Coming of age – part one by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

When I was a teenager, few books were published for that age group, except for unappealing romance novels, and even fewer of those contained Jewish characters. I quickly moved to adult books that featured more serious themes. As an older adult, I find myself fascinated by the large number of…

Off the Shelf: Translating the Bible by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Someone once asked me how best to understand the Bible if they were unable to read the original Hebrew. I gave them the advice I’d received years earlier: read two or three different translations and note when they disagree or use a different expression. That signals a problematic word or …

Off the Shelf: Mysteries for the start of fall by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Two friends and I were discussing books during a recent lunch. (I know, you’re all shocked to learn I was talking about books.) When it comes to serious fiction, the three of us have similar tastes. When it comes to novels of other genres, we often disagree. For example, I love fantasy and…