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In My Own Words - A new year by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

So long, 2019. Good riddance and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. In case you hadn’t already gathered, 2019 is not going down in history as one of my favorite years. I normally think of years using Jewish time; for example, Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the New Year for me. …

In My Own Words - Spending money by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

It felt like odd timing to finally start reading a collection of short essays, “Latest Readings,” by Clive James. The review copy had been accidentally sent to me in 2015 (as far as I can discover, James is not Jewish) and sat on my to-read pile since then. Shortly after beginning the bo…

In My Own Words - General stupidity by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

I recently read a novel in which a mother informed her children that they were not allowed to call anything or anyone stupid. I can certainly understand the need not to call someone stupid: people may be misinformed or have developmental disabilities, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hav…

In My Own Words - Free Speech by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Do you really believe in free speech? Does that include speech or symbols you find offensive? A challenge to my thoughts about free speech happened recently with the news that a local homeowner painted a swastika on his house. The village of Owego officials made it clear that, while they don…

In My Own Words - Being thankful by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

When I was visiting a friend in November, I not so jokingly said that if people asked what we did during the vacation, I was going to say that we spent most of our time complaining. We each are facing family and financial problems, and it was good to talk to someone who truly understood what…