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Book Review Stream

This stream is dedicated to articles about book reviews.

Off the Shelf: The adventure continues by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Judaism, magic and dragons: how could I not love a novel that combines those three elements? They explain not only my reaction to Sofiya Pasternack’s first tween novel “Anya and the Dragon” (see the review at www.thereportergroup.org/past-articles/feature-book-review/feature-book-revie…

Off the Shelf: Displaced persons looking for a home

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

When we study history, we often view the result of an action as inevitable. We forget that there was no guarantee that a revolution would succeed or fail, or that any particular country would win a war. That can make it harder to understand the decisions people make…

Off the Shelf: The Bible through Jewish and Christian eyes


By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

When someone who doesn’t understand Hebrew asks me what is the most accurate translation of the Bible, I find it difficult to suggest just one work. If you are really interested in the meaning of the words, the best way to study is to compare two or three transla…

Off the Shelf: Contemporary Israel in fiction

Before I request a review copy of a novel, I check to see if it contains Jewish content. At a minimum, there has to be at least one Jewish character. If religion plays a role in the book, that’s even better. When looking at works by Israeli authors, though, the same rules don’t always ap…

Off the Shelf: The spirit of Russia by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Russian or Jewish, or a combination of both? That’s the question often raised in works about Russian Jews, whether they live in the former Soviet Union, the United States or Israel. In two recent novels, the emphasis often falls on the Russian aspect of their identities, even after they’…