God, Faith & Identity from the Ashes

God, Faith & Identity from the Ashes : Reflections of Children and Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors

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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 Berger, 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

Alexis Fishman, Australian actor and 

Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Ottawa

Dr. Eva Fogelman, psychologist and author, New York

Associate Judge Karen "Chaya" 
Friedman of the Circuit Court of Maryland

Natalie Friedman, dean of studies and senior class dean, Barnard College, New York

Michael W. Grunberger, director of collections, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC

David Harris, executive director, American Jewish Committee, New York

Author Eva Hoffman, recipient of the Jean Stein Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, London

Rabbi Abie Ingber, executive director, Center for Interfaith Community Engagement, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH

Josef Joffe, editor-publisher, Die Zeit, Germany

Rabbi Lody B. van de Kamp, author; former member of the Chief Rabbinate of Holland and the Conference of European Rabbis, Holland

Rabbi Lilly Kaufman, Torah Fund director, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York

Filmmaker Aviva Kempner, 
Washington, DC

Cardiologist Dr. David N. Kenigsberg, Plantation, FL

Author and Shalom Hartman Institute fellow Yossi Klein Halevi, Israel

Attorney Faina Kukliansky, chairperson, Jewish Community of Lithuania, Vilnius

Rabbi Benny Lau, Ramban Synagogue, Jerusalem

Amichai Lau-Lavie, founding director, Storahtelling, Israel/New York

Philanthropist Jeanette Lerman-
Neubauer, Philadelphia

Hariete Levy, insurance actuary, Paris

Annette Levy-Willard, journalist and author, Paris

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, 
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia

Knesset member Rabbi Dov Lipman, Israel

Rabbi Michael Marmur, provost, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Jerusalem

International banker Julius Meinl, president, Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Prague

Knesset member and former journalist Merav Michaeli, Israel

The Right Honourable David Miliband, former foreign secretary, United Kingdom; president, International Rescue Committee, New York

Tali Nates, director, Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre, 
South Africa

Eric Nelson, professor of government, Harvard University

Eddy Neumann, esq., Sydney, Australia

Mathew S. Nosanchuk, Director for Outreach, National Security Council, the White House, Washington, DC

Artist and author Aliza Olmert, Jerusalem

Couples therapist Esther Perel, New York

Sylvia Posner, administrative executive to the Board of Governors, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president, New York Board of Rabbis

Dr. Richard Prasquier, past president, Conseil Representatif des Institutions Juives de France (Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions), Paris

Richard Primus, professor of law, University of Michigan Law School

Professor Shulamit Reinharz, director, the Women's Studies Research Center and the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Brandeis University, MA

Chaim Reiss, CFO, World Jewish Congress

Jochi (Jochevet) Ritz-Olewski, former vice dean of academic studies, The Open University of Israel

Moshe Ronen, vice president, World Jewish Congress; former president, Canadian Jewish Congress, Toronto

Novelist and Fordham University law professor Thane Rosenbaum, New York

Rabbi Dr. Bernhard H. Rosenberg, Congregation Beth-El, Edison, NJ

Art historian and museum director Jean Bloch Rosensaft, New York

Menachem Z. Rosensaft, general counsel, World Jewish Congress and professor of law, New York

Hannah Rosenthal, former U.S. State Department special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, Wisconsin

Rabbi Judith Schindler, Temple Beth El, Charlotte, NC

Clarence Schwab, equity investor, 
New York

Cantor Azi Schwartz, Park Avenue 
Synagogue, New York

Ghita Schwarz, senior attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights, New York

Psychologist Dr. David Senesh, Tel Aviv

Florence Shapiro, former mayor, Plano, Texas, and former state senator, Texas

Rabbi Kinneret Shiryon, Kehillat YOZMA, Modi'in, Israel

David Silberklang, senior historian,
Yad Vashem, Israel

Documentary film maker and author Andre Singer, London

Peter Singer, professor of bioethics, Princeton University

Robert Singer, CEO and executive vice president, World Jewish Congress

Psychologist Dr. Yaffa Singer, Tel Aviv

Sam Sokol, reporter, The Jerusalem Post, Israel

Philanthropist Alexander Soros, New York

Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz, Congregation B'nai Israel, Tustin, CA

Michael Ashley Stein, executive director, Harvard Law School Project on Disability

Rabbi Kenneth A. Stern, Congregation Gesher Shalom, Fort Lee, NJ

Maram Stern, associate CEO for diplomacy, World Jewish Congress, Brussels

Carol Kahn Strauss, international director, Leo Baeck Institute, New York

Aviva Tal, lecturer in Yiddish literature, 
Bar Ilan University, Israel

Professor Katrin Tenenbaum, scholar on modern Jewish culture and philosophical thought, University of Rome

Dr. Mark L. Tykocinski, dean, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia

Rabbi Moshe Waldoks, Temple Beth Zion, Brookline, MA

Psychologist Diana Wang, president, Generaciones de la Shoa en Argentina, Buenos Aires

Author Ilana Weiser-Senesh, Tel Aviv

Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, former senior aide to New York Governor George Pataki and U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, Oregon

Sociologist Tali Zelkowicz, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 30.48mm | 453.59g
  • Jewish Lights Publishing
  • Woodstock, United States
  • English
  • index
  • 158023805X
  • 9781580238052
  • 1,100,803

Review quote

The continuing effect of the Holocaust has been the subject of much study. This volume gives voice to a broad range of children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors who describe the ways this legacy continues to impact their worldview and their work in the world. These are heart-felt and moving testimonies.

The editor imposes order but not an orthodoxy to these responses. The four themes under which these responses are collected are guideposts that help the reader understand the variety of responses. If there is one common theme, it is that these are individuals who have used their legacy to move positively into the world.

This is not the first such anthology, nor will it be the last. It is a reminder that the horrors of 70-plus years ago continue to reverberate in our world. It should also be a reminder that the other atrocities that have shaken the world in the last century continue to shape the lives of millions, and would that we had a way to hear their testimony as well.

These reflections are enlightening and engaging. I would recommend them more as the stuff for occasional contemplation than for a straight read through the book. --;/p>--Rabbi Louis A. Rieser "Congregational Libraries Today "
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Rating details

17 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 47% (8)
4 24% (4)
3 24% (4)
2 6% (1)
1 0% (0)
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