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Book Review Stream

This stream is dedicated to articles about book reviews.

Off the Shelf: Family joys and pains by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

The source of our greatest joys and our deepest sorrows can be one and the same: our families. Our love makes us far more vulnerable to slights, rejection and criticism when it comes from a family member. Acknowledgment and acceptance of our true selves – the good and the bad – is not al…

Off the Shelf: Revisiting a biblical tale by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

I’m always fascinated to discover new interpretations of biblical tales. One source of inspiration has been comments made by members of a study group or class I’m teaching. Other new ideas have been found in some traditional formats: books of essays about the parasha or d’var Torah col…

Off the Shelf: Romance, contemporary style by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

One reason people like reading traditional romance novels is that they’re guaranteed to have a happy ending. That’s not necessarily true of literary romance novels because, unlike traditional romances, there’s no guarantee that all will end well. That thought occurred to me when readin…

Off the Shelf: FDR, Rabbi Wise and the truth by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

When I was young, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was spoken of highly by members of my family. As the years passed and more information about FDR – particularly the way he manipulated people and the media – was revealed to the public, my feelings about him changed. A new book offers…

Off the Shelf: Messy lives by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

They strove to do something great, something meaningful, but, objectively, the results were a disaster. That loosely describes the main characters in two recent novels: “Revolutionaries” by Joshua Furst (Alfred A. Knopf) and “Donna Has Left the Building” by Susan Jane Gilman (Grand C…