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Book Review Stream

Off the Shelf: Cartoons and comedy By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Is it too early to buy Hanukkah presents? I know it’s difficult to think about the December holiday when we are in the midst of the extended fall holiday season, but I have two books that will make perfect presents – that is, if you don’t decide to keep them for yourself. For Jewish ca…

Off the Shelf: Rich and newly single in New York City

While reading the first 20 pages of “Fleishman is in Trouble” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Random House), I wondered why critics were making such a fuss about the book. It was one of the big novels of the summer and two friends had given it the highest rating on the Goodreads website. Was I…

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…