Executive Editor Stream

Off the Shelf: The spirit of Russia by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Russian or Jewish, or a combination of both? That’s the question often raised in works about Russian Jews, whether they live in the former Soviet Union, the United States or Israel. In two recent novels, the emphasis often falls on the Russian aspect of their identities, even after they’…

In My Own Words: Surviving the holidays by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

For my part-time chaplaincy job, I recently taped a 10-minute video about grieving and loss that was sent out to staff members. When I introduced myself, I found myself speaking about two different identities, saying that some people know me as a chaplain and others as the sister of my late …

In My Own Words: Reflecting on tragedy by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

In July 2019, I took part in a “Lights for Liberty” vigil at Temple Concord after Friday night services. Members of the synagogue were joined by other faith groups in a silent protest against the inhumane treatment of refugees. Earlier that day, I’d suffered another bout of vertigo and…

Off the Shelf: Stories by Oren and Schwartz by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

I read more novels than I do short story collections. There is something about sinking into a book and following its characters through time that appeals to me. Yet, a great short story is a masterwork of art in that a few pages can leave me as satisfied as a 400-page novel. If an author can…

Off the Shelf: Two sides of World War II – part 2 by Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Part one of this review featured novels that looked at World War II from the point of view of Jewish characters. Part two offers a different perspective: the war as seen by non-Jews. Some of the characters were alive during the fighting; others view those years through the lense of history.