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Book Review Stream

This stream is dedicated to articles about book reviews.

Off the Shelf: Two sides of World War II – part 1 by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

I’ve written so many reviews of novels about World War II and its aftermath that I sometimes wonder if there is anything new to say. However, there are as many aspects of the war to explore as there were people affected by what occurred, and each offers something different. These stories m…

Off the Shelf: Feline Jewish wisdom by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Is there a special connection between Jews and cats? I have plenty of Jewish friends who have dogs, but I don’t recall any book written connecting Judaism and canines. That’s not true of cats, though. There is the delightful graphic novel “The Rabbi’s Cat” by Joann Sfar, which feat…

Off the Shelf: Major life changes by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

The two memoirs seemed to have little in common at first glance. Yet, underlying the authors’ very different lives is a similar theme: the need to adjust to a major life change. In “Becoming Eve: My Journey From Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgendered Woman” (Seal Press), Abby Chava Stei…

Off the Shelf: Outsiders of the shtetl by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

An idealized view of the shtetl used to exist in the American mind – a wonderful place, filled with happy, observant Jews who lived joyous Jewish lives. Over the past several decades, scholars have been disputing that view, showing that shtetl life was more complex and far from perfect. A …

Off the Shelf: Women’s roles and history by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Ever wonder what would happen if characters from different novels were to meet? In the case of those featured in this review, there would be arguments about the role women should play in public and private life. However, that is not their only purpose: the authors also portray Jewish life in…