suspend our intellect nor deny the historical reality of the Shoah: when we engage in prayer. Thus, the alternative understandings of prayer presented in this chapter are an attempt to do both: to suggest to all who continue to struggle with prayer after the Shoah that it is possible to pray, though never again as those in the past prayed; and that the restlessness of the post-Shoah mind and mind set must be given their rightful place in any meaningful discussion of prayer.
The last question that now must be raised is "Why?" Why bother with prayer at all? Why bother to be part of any so-named praying community? Despite the overwhelming impact of the Shoah, the .poetry of the soul" continues to assert itself. Despite our all-tooready willingness to engage in despair, life itself and its singularly unique "moments of beauty" continue to present themselves even to the most affected and afflicted. Short of permanent institutional residence and mental and physical impotence, survivors and their children, scholars, and friends continue to go on with life. Suicide for the vast majority of those addressed in this book is simply not an option. We children of survivors, we Second Generation, are born into a community, primarily of Jews, and wish to remain so. That some among us are no longer comfortable with the historically traditional understandings of faith and religion because of the Shoah comes as no surprise to anyone. That we wish to enter into on-going dialogue with our fellow Jews about God, covenant, prayer, and so forth should be interpreted and understood as our positive response, not to the Shoah itself, but rather to meaningful and creative Jewish religious survival and our determination to enlist others, Jews and Christians, in preventing its repetition.
That said, we turn next to the very essence of the Jewish religious experience: that of halakhah and mitzvot, law and commandments. For this Second Generation thinker, no longer accepting of such as Divinely given, can there be any other interpretation and understanding that accords discipline its rightful and appropriate place within the Jewish panoply of ideas and charts the way Jews can now do their Judaism five decades after the Shoah?