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Off the Shelf: Black and a slave, white and a Jew

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

One fascinating section of Laura Arnold Leibman’s “The Art of the Jewish Family: A History of Women in Early New York in Five Objects” discussed an ivory miniature portrait, and the life, of Sarah Brandon Moses. (See The Reporter’s review of the book here.)…

Off the Shelf: Just after the war

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

A novel for adults

Why would two Jews who escaped from Germany before the World War II want to return? That question underlies Ellen Feldman’s excellent “The Living and the Lost” (St. Martin’s Griffin). The answer for David Mosbach is simple: he joined the…

Off the Shelf: Two Israeli authors

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

There is a debate about whether reviewers should discuss an author’s nationality when writing about their work. When reviewing novels and memoirs about Soviet Jewish immigrants to the U.S., it makes sense to compare and contrast their experiences, especially if th…

Off the Shelf: Do movies matter?

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Are motion pictures merely entertainment, or are they worthy of serious, academic study? It’s clear that Helene Meyers believes that movies have made an important contribution to American culture: she explores the way Jewish films have influenced Jews and Gentiles…

Off the Shelf: Three reprints and one new novel

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

A short Yiddish novel reappears

No one seems sure why Sholem Aleichem’s short novel “Moshkeleh the Thief: A Rediscovered Novel” (The Jewish Publication Society), which was serialized in 1903 and first released in book form in 1913, was never translated in…