God, Faith & Identity From the Ashes

God, Faith & Identity From the Ashes

Reflections of Children and Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors

Book - 2014
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A Powerful, Life-Affirming New Perspective on the Holocaust

Almost ninety children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors theologians, scholars, spiritual leaders, authors, artists, political and community leaders and media personalities from sixteen countries on six continents reflect on how the memories transmitted to them have affected their lives. Profoundly personal stories explore faith, identity and legacy in the aftermath of the Holocaust as well as our role in ensuring that future genocides and similar atrocities never happen again.

There have been many books and studies about children of Holocaust survivors the so-called second and third generations with a psycho-social focus. This book is different. It is intended to reflect what they believe, who they are and how that informs what they have done and are doing with their lives.

From major religious or intellectual explorations to shorter commentaries on experiences, quandaries and cultural, political and personal affirmations, almost ninety contributors from sixteen countries respond to this question: how have your parents' and grandparents' experiences and examples helped shape your identity and your attitudes toward God, faith, Judaism, the Jewish people and the world as a whole?

For people of all faiths and backgrounds, these powerful and deeply moving statements will have a profound effect on the way our and future generations understand and shape their understanding of the Holocaust.

Praise from Pope Francis for Menachem Rosensaft's essay reconciling God's presence with the horrors of the Holocaust:

"When you, with humility, are telling us where God was in that moment, I felt within me that you had transcended all possible explanations and that, after a long pilgrimage sometimes sad, tedious or dull you came to discover a certain logic and it is from there that you were speaking to us; the logic of First Kings 19:12, the logic of that 'gentle breeze' (I know that it is a very poor translation of the rich Hebrew expression) that constitutes the only possible hermeneutic interpretation.

"Thank you from my heart. And, please, do not forget to pray for me. May the Lord bless you."

His Holiness Pope Francis


Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella of the Supreme Court of Canada

Historian Ilya Altman , cofounder and cochairman, Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center, Moscow

New York Times reporter and author Joseph Berge r, New York

Historian Eleonora Bergman , former director, Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw

Vivian Glaser Bernstein , former cochief, Group Programmes Unit, United Nations Department of Public Information, New York

Michael Brenner , professor of Jewish history and culture, Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich; chair in Israel studies, American University, Washington, DC

Novelist and poet Lily Brett , winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize Award, New York

New York Times deputy national news editor and former Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner , New York

Stephanie Butnick , associate editor, Tablet Magazine , New York

Rabbi Chaim Zev Citron , Ahavas Yisroel Synagogue and Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad, Los Angeles

Dr. Stephen L. Comite , assistant clinical professor of dermatology, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York

Elaine Culbertson , director of a program taking American high school teachers to study Holocaust sites, New York

Former Israeli Minister of Internal Security and Shin Bet director Avi Dichter , Israel

Lawrence S. Elbaum , attorney, New York

Publisher: Woodstock : Jewish Lights Publishing, a division of LongHill Partners, Inc., [2014]
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781580238243
Characteristics: xxviii, 309 pages : portraits ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Rosensaft, Menachem Z. 1948-- Editor


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Dec 16, 2015

For anyone who doubts the utter catastrophe of the Holocaust ever happened, this book just might be a tonic for that. Working on four themes - doubting God even existed during the Shoah, the events becoming an integral part of Jewish identity, making sure no one ever forgets the tragedy, and working to change the world for the better - 88 personalities, some quite familiar to most, others not, tell the stories of their parents and grandparents, among the last survivors of this totally needless aspect of WWII. Some of the stories will move you, others will shock you. But it will no doubt make a Jewish person take pride in their faith, and a Gentile realize how important it is to stand on guard for God's chosen people. To deny the Holocaust is to deny Jews their identity, which is why so many free world countries make such denial an exception to free speech laws ... which I think is the right approach to it.


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