Executive Editor Stream

Off the Shelf: Contemporary Israel in fiction

Before I request a review copy of a novel, I check to see if it contains Jewish content. At a minimum, there has to be at least one Jewish character. If religion plays a role in the book, that’s even better. When looking at works by Israeli authors, though, the same rules don’t always ap…

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…