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Off the Shelf: Children and parents by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Tales of intergenerational conflict fuel novels and memoirs. The majority of these works focus on bad parenting and/or the inability to accept a child’s differences. Both are true of two recent works: Ilana Masad’s novel “All My Mother’s Lovers” (Dutton) and David Adjmi’s memoir …

Off the Shelf: Revisiting World War II and its aftermath

by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

During my years as book reviewer for The Reporter, I’ve read more World War II and Holocaust themed novels than I can count. What amazes me is that there are still so many stories to tell and so many different ways to relate them. Some of the novels in this review…

Off the Shelf: Exploring history through objects by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

History is defined as “the study of past events, particularly in human affairs.” But what parts of history tell us the most about the past? Should its focus be great events – for example, wars and revolutions – and the biographies of those who made them happen? Or should we be studyi…

Off the Shelf: Righteous and evil men by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

According to the website Masterclass (www.masterclass.com), “thrillers are dark, engrossing, and suspenseful plot-driven stories.” Why was I looking for a definition of the thriller genre? Well, the two books featured in this review –”The Accomplice” by Joseph Kanon (Atria Books) a…

Off the Shelf: Imagining and re-imagining biblical characters

by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

One answer to the question of why there are so many different interpretations of the biblical text is that people are intrigued by the gaps in the stories – the parts that are either not clear or left out. Everyone from the ancient rabbis to contemporary novelists…