American Jewish Loss after the Holocaust by Laura Levitt PDF

By Laura Levitt

ISBN-10: 0814752179

ISBN-13: 9780814752173

Many people belong to groups which have been scarred through bad calamities. and lots of folks come from households that experience suffered grievous losses. How we think about those legacies of loss and the methods they tell one another are the questions Laura Levitt takes up during this provocative and passionate book.

An American Jew whose relatives was once in some way stricken by the Holocaust, Levitt grapples with the demanding situations of contending with traditional Jewish loss. She means that even supposing the reminiscence of the Holocaust could appear to overshadow all other forms of loss for American Jews, it may additionally open up probabilities for enticing those extra own and daily legacies.

Weaving in discussions of her family tales and writing in a way that's either deeply own and erudite, Levitt indicates what occurs whilst private and non-private losses are visible subsequent to one another, and what occurs while tricky artworks or commemoration, reminiscent of museum indicates or movies, are noticeable along traditional relatives tales approximately extra intimate losses. In so doing she illuminates how via those ''ordinary stories'' we may well create another version for confronting Holocaust reminiscence in Jewish culture.

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But I want directly to challenge these assumptions and argue that these heretofore inexpressible and unacceptable desires are in fact at the heart of American Jews’ engagements with the Holocaust. When we address the other more ordinary legacies of loss that have shaped American Jewish life, we demonstrate how this interplay works. We can then begin to work through our shame in order to confront more fully what is so haunting about all those intimate images on the walls of the Tower. Before moving on to this other way of engaging the past, I want to return to the Tower of Faces to show how these normative practices work.

In this way we begin to keep account of the lives of these people, not just their deaths. Those of us with no direct family ties to the Holocaust and no children of our own live with an additional tension. To whom do we pass on these various legacies? Given that not having children has itself been cast as an affront to the legacy of the Holocaust, how might we let go of the biology of inheritance and imagine other forms of community that might keep all of these legacies alive? How do we pass on not only the memory of the Holocaust, but also all of the more intimate legacies of loss that mark our American Jewish lives, and how do we see all of these memories as a part of a larger communal story?

In the film, indirection functions as both a strategy for getting closer to these elusive legacies and as a way to reproduce the distance that always marks these engagements with the past. Both Klepfisz’s poem and Resnais’ film offer enactments of how memory works as a kind of unraveling. In each, the haunting presence of loss is a part of everyday life. Neither Klepfisz’s poem nor Resnais’ film allows narration to conquer forgetting. These works acknowledge how traumatic memories linger and how they help form the texture of 6 | Introduction everyday life.

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American Jewish Loss after the Holocaust by Laura Levitt

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