The Female Face of God in Auschwitz: A Jewish Feminist Theology of the Holocaust

By Melissa Raphael | Go to book overview

that the counter response of affirmation must be extraordinary. Any models or behaviour patterns within the tradition that demean the image of God must be cleansed and corrected at once.’ 12 It is significant that in later pieces, Greenberg summarizes Jewish feminism as the movement that ‘seeks to realize the Torah’s dream’ that every human being will be honoured as made in the image of God. 13 That Jewish feminism has undertaken what should be the post-Holocaust task of Jewry as a whole suggests that there is something about Jewish feminist theological revision that is crucially both at the heart of Judaism and at the heart of a properly Jewish theological response to Auschwitz, the effect of whose assault, if not its stated intent, was a degradation and erasure of the divine image that at once justified and hid its crime.

With these critical and constructive purposes in mind, I have written this book so that the first two chapters establish a critical context for the four subsequent chapters’ constructive theology. These four latter chapters describe three movements: God’s approach to, passage through, and departure from Auschwitz into an open future. In both parts, women’s holocaust memoirs are used to produce and illustrate my critique as well as to revisit post-Holocaust theology and the tradition it engages. I end the book with a theopoetic postscript: a short tale in the traditional form of the maaseh that summarizes and concludes the book without merely rehearsing its argument. Although the critical discussion of post-Holocaust theology contextualizes my own constructive project, both can be read independently of the other.


The argument of this book

Any attempt to write a theology of the Holocaust on the basis of its historical recollection faces a number of methodological and theological challenges. It might therefore be helpful to outline the central elements of my argument and anticipate some of the objections it might properly raise.

Aware of the serious shortcomings of blunt, polarizing terms like feminist and patriarchal, 14 the first chapter examines the gendered factors of difference in mediating and reading the Holocaust, as well as the patriarchal values and priorities which underpin theological construals of the Holocaust where the masculine voice is authoritative and heard, and God is very often, and women almost always, silent. Offering the preliminaries of a feminist response I argue that post-Holo-caust theology has been a thoroughly gendered enterprise. It has been produced by and for men on patriarchal premises of what constitutes morally and theologically acceptable divine means and ends, and what experiences constitute a theologically authoritative witness and what do not. In 1919 the radical Yiddish poet Kadia Molodowski wrote: ‘My life is a page ripped out of a holy book and part of the first line is missing.’ 15 With Molodowski’s words in mind, I go on to use the opening chapter of a well-known introduction to post-Holocaust theology to demonstrate that there are connections, yet to be fully explored, between the male authority to pronounce after Sinai and to pronounce after Auschwitz. The halakhic inadmissibility of women as most forms of witness, or as scholar or

-4-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Female Face of God in Auschwitz: A Jewish Feminist Theology of the Holocaust
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Editors’ Preface vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Reading Post-Holocaust Theology from a Feminist Perspective 19
  • 2 - The Hiding of God’s Face in Auschwitz 43
  • 3 - Feminist Intimations of the Holy in Auschwitz 59
  • 4 - Face to Face (With God) in Auschwitz 86
  • 5 - A Mother/God in Auschwitz 107
  • 6 - The Redemption of God in Auschwitz 128
  • The Princess and the City of Death 161
  • Notes 166
  • Select Glossary of Hebrew and Yiddish Terms 205
  • Bibliography 207
  • Index 221
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 228

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.