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Off the Shelf: Prayer and nature by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

People find peace and comfort through different activities. Take, for example, two recent books, one of which looks at prayer and the other at gardening. Rabbi Dov Singer gives suggestions to help people have meaningful prayer experiences in “Prepare My Prayer: Recipes to Awaken the Soul…

From the Desk of the Federation Executive Director: With Gratitude 5/15/20

A friend of the family recently passed from coronavirus. His devoted wife was unable to continue her daily visits to the nursing home where he had resided for several years. Desperate to be with him during his last days, her family placed a four-foot ladder outside his window. She put on a m…

In My Own Words: Lockdown by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Let me see if I have this correctly: being asked to stay in your homes in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 is the exact same thing as “men and women stripped completely naked, lined up and facing a mass grave, where they are shooting them in the back of the head and falling in the grav…

Off the Shelf: Novels that take place in Israel – part two

Part one of this review focused on the more domestic aspects of Israeli life. This review speaks to the complex issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While politics are involved, all three authors focus on the personal side of these issues, which allows readers to see how they…

Off the Shelf: Hollywood and Jewish refugees

by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Before I read the press release for “The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler’s Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood” by Donna Rifkind (Other Press), I’d never heard of Salka Viertel. While I knew that many Jewish and non-Jewish refugees who were act…