Rethinking Jewish Faith: The Child of a Survivor Responds

By Steven L. Jacobs | Go to book overview

Appendix II: "Rethinking Jewish [and Christian?] Faith in Light of the Holocaust: The Response of the Child of a Survivor"

I

The Jewish People and all of contemporary humanity is, at best, but a single generation away from the nightmarish events of the Holocaust. Though the wound itself continues to fester, survivors and their offspring, as well as those only indirectly affected, continue to experience healing. Indeed, the very fact that there are offspring of those who experienced the unspeakable is, in and of itself, one measure of that healing. That this "Second Generation," the offspring of the original survivors as they are now called and now call themselves, in turn chooses to have children furthers that healing, and may very well be the loudest response to Adolf Hitler's quest for a world Judenrein, Jew-free.

Problematic, however, is the literature which addresses the "inheritance" of this Second Generation of victims, the children of diminished families, from the perspective of Jewish faith, belief, and practice. 1 The concerns of many writers are not with the faith of this Second Generation and issues and concerns related to that faith, but, rather, with the psychological health and well-being of these children of survivors. The works of Bergmann and Jucovy, Luel and Marcus, Eitinger and Krell, and Dimsdale all address religious issues

Reprinted from The New Collegian [of Samford University, a Baptist institution of higher learning, Birmingham, Alabama] 3, no. 1 ( 1990): 13-17. Permission Granted. Although thoroughly revised, the genesis of this essay was a presentation to the Third Annual Conference on Spirituality of the Atlanta Reform Jewish Synagogue Council on Sunday, 21 September 1986, under the theme "Reform Jews in Search of God: The Mitzvot-- Law or Lore?" That presentation was itself published as the previous appendix.

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