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In My Own Words: Being a chaplain, not a theologian

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

I never expected the words to come out of my mouth. But as the only chaplain available, I said the one thing I knew would bring comfort to the person who had told me proudly that he was a regular churchgoer: “Your friend is safe because he is resting in the arms o…

From the Desk of the Federation Executive Director: With gratitude 12/17/21

By Shelley Hubal 

It’s time for full disclosure. Feel free to judge; I am ready to be honest. It started slowly, probably around January 2017, but did not reach full abdication until a few months into the pandemic. What am I talking about? I have made a conscious decision to give up watch…

In My Own Words: Book burning

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

On June 17, 1242, King Louis IX and Pope Gregory IX ordered that every copy of the Talmud on French soil be burned. The reason for this destruction was that the work contained sayings and sentiments they believed were offensive. Since this was before the printing pr…

In My Own Words: Guilt by association

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

First, let’s be clear: Jeffrey Epstein was a pedophile and a loathsome excuse for a human being. Why do I feel the need to say that before writing about a business associate of his? Because it seems like we are now condemning people as guilty by association. 


From the Desk of the Federation Executive Director: With gratitude 11/19/21

By Shelley Hubal

My grandparent’s home on Wedgewood Terrace in DeWitt, NY, was the center of our large Jewish family. With three first cousins, multiple second cousins, scores of aunts and uncles, and one neighborhood family that we adopted as our own, my sisters and I never ran out of pl…