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Celebrating Jewish Literature: The cost of war

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

The Spanish Civil War 

Spain has a mixed Jewish history. Tales of tolerance and understanding while the country was under Muslim rule clash with the forced conversions and expulsions of the Jewish population during the reign of Christian monarchs Ferdinand II of A…

Celebrating Jewish Literature: Gender and the Talmud

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Nonbinary gendered individuals found in the Talmud: Max. K. Strassfeld (who uses the pronouns they/their) was fascinated by the discussions they discovered about them in the rabbinic text. Strassfeld wanted to know more, to not just understand what the rabbis though…

Celebrating Jewish Literature: Nonfiction, Fiction and Fantasy for tweens

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

I don’t know if it’s because there were so few books for Jewish tweens published when I was young, but I love reading books for this age group. Not only are numerous books being published, but the works are really impressive in depth and breadth. Since I’ve en…

Celebrating Jewish Literature: Apps and games

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Is it possible to create an app that will help you find happiness? Can playing online games provide an escape from life’s difficulties and griefs? How much of our personalities and actions are based on our physicality, and how much on our intellect alone? Two rece…

Celebrating Jewish Literature: Translated from the Yiddish and Hebrew

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Stories from 1930s’ (pre-World War II) Europe and 21st century Israel: what do they have in common? Human nature, of course: the search for love and meaning, and the struggle against the sorrows of daily life. In their wonderful tales, Chana Blankshteyn’s “Fea…