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Off the Shelf: Familial relationships

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Lifecyle events – changes in status – often make us pause and review our lives. They also can cause us to re-evaluate the way we understand our parents’ behavior and our connection to them. These ideas form the basis for two recent memoirs: After his mother’…

Off the Shelf: Post-World War II mysteries

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Reverberations from World War II have continued throughout the decades, but, when novelists deal with these echoes, they often focus on very different aspects. Take, for example, two recent novels: Joss Weiss offers a dystopian version of the United States in the 19…

Off the Shelf: Light, fire and fathers

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

I have an eclectic taste in books. Sorry, eclectic was a high school vocabulary word that I fell in love with: it’s just a fancy way of saying I like to read a wide variety of books. Years ago, there was bookstore on Washington Avenue in Endicott. The salesman an…

Off the Shelf: Unexpected consequences

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Any choice a person makes can result in unexpected consequences. After all, no one can predict the future. But some choices are more fraught than others, for example, surrogate motherhood or having an affair. Those actions occur in two recent novels: Jacqueline Fri…

Off the Shelf: Math, drawings, time travel and family

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

“Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should... You might be able to change the past, but does that fix it? What will you lose?” – “Atomic Anna”

What would you change if you could go back in time? Would major historical events be your prio…