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After Tragedy and Triumph

After Tragedy and Triumph
Essays in Modern Jewish Thought and the American Experience

$103.00 (C)

Richard L. Rubenstein
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  • Date Published: November 1990
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521380577

$ 103.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • The story of American Jewry is inextricably entwined with the awesome defeat of the Holocaust and the rebirth of the state of Israel. However, for Michael Berenbaum, and others of his generation, whose adult consciousness included the war in Lebanon and the Palestinian Uprisings, the tale is more anguished, for the Jewish People are now divided, uncertain about the implications of the past and the direction of their future. Berenbaum explores the Jewish identity of this generation, the first to mature after tragedy and triumph. He probes the Holocaust's impact on Jewish consciousness and the imprint of American culture on Jewish identity. Challenging Zionism's conventional assumptions, he details American Jews' changing relationship to Israel as he examines the tensions created within Jewish tradition between a history of victimization and the empowerment of Jews. While demonstrating that the security of victory is one step from the anguish of victims, even when the victors have recently emerged from the fire, Berenbaum holds out the hope of liberation for Judaism, maintaining that five thousand years of history, with its chapter of Holocaust and empowerment, provide a unique foundation upon which to build a future. Michael Berenbaum is Hymen Goldman Professor of Theology at Georgetown University and Project Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. He is the author or editor of several books, including The Vision of the Void: Theological Reflections on the Works of Elie Wiesel and The Holocaust: Religious and Political Implications (with John Roth).

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Brilliant scholarship, astute political awareness, religious sensitivity, and lucid prose -- these virtues characterize Michael Berenbaum and his perceptive essays. Insightfully probing the Holocaust, contemporary Jewish thought, and American experience, After Tragedy and Triumph is a triumph." John K. Roth

    "These essays offer us an important new Jewish voice. Michael Berenbaum combines a creative mind with the insights gleaned from firsthand experience. He gives an original portrait of how understanding of the Holocaust has become central in American Jewish life and how that understanding of the Holocaust has become central in American Jewish life and how that understanding itself has been defined by the American experience. His theological commentary ranges from the fresh appreciation of Martin Buber and critique of Franz Rosenzweig to Orthodoxy's problems and possibilities with pluralism. Everything he touches he clarifies and illuminates. By sharing his insights our understanding is transformed. The reader is enriched -- this is valuable reading." Rabbi Irving Greenberg

    "Berenbaum's hand is surest when criticizing parochialism in Jewish life, whether for an excessively restrictive approach to the Holocaust, an obsession with Jewish victimhood, a discomfort in understanding the Holocaust within a wider American context or an unwillingness to address modern categories when contemplating the Jewish past or present." Michael R. Marrus, Moment

    "In this impressive collection of essays that attempts to understand the Jew in contemporary America, Michael Berenbaum "...addresses three central issues; The identity of Jews after the tragedy of the Holocaust and the triumph of Israel, the tensions created within Jewish tradition between a history of victimization and the assumption of power, and the choices facing free Jewish communities in the wake of decreased anti-Semitism...Illuminating." Dimensions

    "Holocaust-related issues are at the core of this stimulating book of essays by Michael Berenbaum, an American scholar who is project director at the Washington Holocaust Museum." Geoffrey Wigoder, The Jerusalem Post

    "With probing analysis...Berenbaum is at his best as a synthesizer of other's theological and historical views, finding his own voice through their creative integration. Passionately, crisply, and lucidly written, his essays are well worth re-reading." Religious Studies Review

    " interesting and provocative series of essays, well worth the reading for people interested in a number of areas touching upon American Jewry." Journal of American Ethnic History

    "Berenbaum clearly outlines the predominant theological and historical approaches to the Holocaust, making the complicated events which have occupied thinkers for decades accessible to a larger public. One can learn from each of these approaches, Berenbaum's respectful assessment of his colleagues implies; his essays enable his readers to treat these dfferent interpretations as complementary, rather than competing." Sara R. Horowitz, Shofar

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 1990
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521380577
    • length: 220 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.53kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Foreword Richard L. Rubenstein
    Part I. The Holocaust in Contemporary American Culture:
    1. The nativisation of the Holocaust
    2. The uniqueness and universality of the Holocaust
    3. Public commemoration of the Holocaust
    4. Is the centrality of the Holocaust overemphasised? Two dialogues
    5. Issues in teaching the Holocaust
    6. What we should teach our children
    7. The shadows of the Holocaust
    Part II. Jewish Thought and Modern History:
    8. Franz Rosenzweig and Martin Buber Reconsidered
    9. The problem of pluralism in contemporary orthodoxy: philosophy and politics
    10. From Auschwitz to Oslo: the journey of Elie Wiesel
    11. Jacob Neusner and the renewal of an ever-dying people
    12. Political Zionism's would-be successors: sectarianism, Messianism, nationalism, and secularism
    13. The situation of the American Jew

  • Author

    Michael Berenbaum, Georgetown University, Washington DC


    Richard L. Rubenstein

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