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From the Desk of the Federation Executive Director: With Gratitude (7/30)

I wouldn’t call my desire an obsession. Let’s use the term “dream.” For years, I have been wanting to go to Cherry Springs State Park. Have you heard of it? Located in Northwest Pennsylvania, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Binghamton, it is one of only a handful of places on …

In My Own Words: Ice Cream, Settlements, and Societal Pressure

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

This column isn’t going to make anyone happy, including myself. My reactions have been all over the place, so writing this is supposed to help me define my thoughts, but I’m not sure it’s going to help.

The issue? The headline on the JTA breaking news e-mail …

Federation Executive Director: With Gratitude (7/16)

“I pledge to be funny.” Those are the words my son Joshua wrote several years ago when he was asked to sign a behavior contract before going to sleep-away camp. Not satisfied with just committing himself to respecting others and following the camp rules, he made a commitment that to keep…

In My Own Words: Emerging from the Pandemic

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Sometimes I forget to take a mask with me, so I’ve been keeping extras in the car. I’ve felt weird walking into buildings or homes without wearing a mask: the former normal now seems a bit abnormal. I’m still wearing masks when going shopping and still limit t…

In My Own Words: Tribute to a Friend

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

I don’t usually write about my rabbinical work in this column, but, although there are numerous political and social issues of importance I could discuss, it’s personal ones that are haunting me this week. On June 16, for the first time, I did the funeral of a p…