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Off the Shelf: Miscellaneous fiction for fall

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

A family mystery

Matt Goldman is best known for his wise-cracking Nils Shapiro detective series. However, as “Carolina Moonset” (Forge) shows, Goldman also excels at portraying family connections. Although the narrator, 46-year-old Joey Green, prefers using hu…

Off the Shelf: Reviewing the past

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Can we truly understand the past – not only the stories of our relatives, but our own actions – if we don’t know everything that occurred? Can learning a different side to events from years before change the way we view the world? These ideas are explored in t…

Off the Shelf: Religious searching and spiritual seeking

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Searching for the true meaning of the biblical text

In 1944, at the age of 21, Segundo Villanuena sought to avenge his father’s murder. His only real inheritance was a trunk, which he hoped would hold either an inheritance or a message from his father. What he d…

Off the Shelf: Oz and Singer discuss writing and life

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

When considering major Jewish literary figures of the past 100 years, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Amos Oz certainly qualify, even though they represent two different traditions. Singer has been called a master of Yiddish literature (something with which the Nobel Pri…

Off the Shelf: Social justice messages from Proverbs

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

A new genre of biblical commentary has appeared over the past few years. Rather than doing a line-by-line discussion of the text, these commentators use the text as a starting point to explore contemporary moral and ethical problems. One recent example is “The Bo…