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Off the Shelf: Demons in the rabbinic world

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Demons, gremlins, golems: for many contemporary Jews, these creatures belong to the realm of fairy tales. This was not true – at least, not in the case of demons – for the ancient rabbis who lived in Babylon. In her book “Demons in the Details: Demonic Discou…

Off the Shelf: A novel translated from...

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Hebrew: “Victorious”

What purpose should a psychologist’s work serve? This question forms the basis for Yishai Sarid’s intriguing novel “Victorious” (Restless Books). Abigail, the first-person narrator, used to work as a military psychologist for the I…

Off the Shelf: Exploring history from two points of view

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

When researching a prominent family’s history, what particular aspects of their lives should a historian explore? That depends, of course, on a researcher/writer’s particular interest, although in the past that focus was often limited. For example, politics and…

Off the Shelf: Two sides of the 1980s

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

The 1980s was a period of upheaval, particularly for women, because it seemed two distinct paths were open: one, the traditional path for women to marry and have children and, the second, a career, sometimes in fields that previously had rarely included women. Two …

Off the Shelf: A lost community

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

When, in 2015, Michael Frank arrived last minute to a lecture being held at the Casa Italiana, the home of New York University’s Department of Italian Studies, it’s doubtful that he knew how occupying the only available seat remaining would change his life. It …