Esther Goldenberg: Imagining Deborah’s Untold Story with Empathy

What does it mean to tap into empathy and reimagine the life and experiences of someone only mentioned in a few sentences in history, whose story remains untold.

My guest is Esther Goldenberg, educator and author of the Biblical fiction novel, The Scrolls of Deborah. We discuss how a few lines in the Bible sparked Esther’s curiosity to imagine this woman’s entire life story and perspective, how seeing historical events from other points of view can be so valuable and fill in gaps or change hearts, and how books and stories help us nourish empathy and relate to others from a safe distance. We also talk about how writing can be a lonely endeavor and what creating something for the world that only exists in your head feels like.

Esther even reads us a passage from the novel that is a shining example of an empathetic conversation so pay attention to that debrief as well!

To access the episode transcript, please click on the episode title at

Key Takeaways:

  • Build a practice of engaging in literature, music, documentaries, movies, and other media created by people and about people who have different life perspectives than you. It will build and foster empathy.
  • As human beings, we can become numb to large numbers surrounding tragic events. By bringing it into the story of one person or one family, such as in historical fiction, it can remind the readers that it is about the one, even among the many.
  • Scenes in books and movies can model empathy for those who do not necessarily see it in their daily lives.

 “Through fiction, people get to really see themselves in the characters and see the characters as people who they get to know. And that really creates fertile ground for empathy.”

—  Esther Goldenberg

Episode References:

About Esther Goldenberg, Educator and Author, The Scrolls of Deborah

Esther Goldenberg is a native Chicagoan, author, educator, and mother. Once a reluctant reader, but always someone who enjoyed a good story, she developed a passion for writing.  Her much anticipated Biblical fiction novel, The Scrolls of Deborah, is available in paperback, e-book, and audio formats. Esther continues to write and teach students of all ages, with most of her workshops now tying in with themes from her book.

Connect with Esther Goldenberg: 


Book: The Scrolls of Deborah:



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