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Book Reviews 159 from this phenomenon for improving outreach to alienated Jewish youth remains an open question. Werner Israel Halpern, M.D. Rochester, New York Shoah, The Paradigmatic Genocide: Essays in Exegesis and Eisegesis, by Zev Garber. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1994. 213 pp. $29.50. It is exciting to read a book that not only provides important and useful information about a subject but also evokes the reader's own response, whether in agreement or argumentation. Such a book is Garber's collection ofessays (many originally delivered at scholarly conferences, but frequently revised for this volume). As the author wrestles with texts, traditions, and history, he is un bomme engage, and the reader participates in the process. Chapters three, seven, eight, and nine are particularly powerful and consequently challenged my own thought more deeply-all to the good. Among the many important issues dealt with are: the Shoah either as unique or as one more example of humankind's inhumanityj God's place and/or role in history and in this particular massive suffering; Christian culpability and its sourceSj the Akedah of Isaac's near-sacrifice, Jacob's wrestling with the "angel" atJabbok, and Jesus' agonizingdeathj forgetting and/or forgiving; the Passover celebration of freedom versus the Yom haShoah remembrance of massive suffering and annihilation; various Jewish attempts to relate the Shoah to faith with varying results; and many more. Garber describes in chapter three someJewish and/or Christian efforts to make the Jewish victims of the Holocaust into heroic emulators of Isaac or Jesus, each of whom accepted being sacrificed to God (or so we are told). He pays particular attention to Elie Wiesel's agonizing effort to confront the Event he barely survived and God in whom he had had such ardent trust before the Shoah, and concludes that Wiesel's struggle to somehow encompass God "within the universe of this ultimate Jewish catastrophe" (p. 60) led him to use the Akedah model. But Garber finds he must reject such comparison, however sympathetic he remains to Wiesel. The sacrifice ofJewish life in the Shoah cannot be so "beautified," he insists, though whether Wiesel's use of the Akedah does in fact beautifY it remains questionable. Garber rightly reminds us of the desperation of 160 SHOFAR Winter 1996 Vol. 14, No.2 the millions trapped in and faced with the. terrible realities of Hitler's "Final Solution," and rejects any attempts to elevate their deaths into "cosmic tragedy" (pp. 59-62). We readers must ask ourselves whether we can accept-or even need-such suffering in order to assure ourselves of God's love and concern for humankind. Or does not the six million-time multiplication of such suffering and death reveal the emptiness of such models? How are Jews to relate the Passover celebration of freedom to the deliberate destruction of their six million (chapter eight)? Garber is persuaded that since "the legacy of remembrance is the underbelly of Freedom" (p. 150) the Shoah must be recalled at that very time of jubilation. Perhaps this can also help us cope with the fact that Yom hashoah's observance occurs just two weeks after Passover and thus should be a reminder that we can never rest easy but must remain alert to danger. I found myself arguing more with the author's delineation of a course on the Shoah (chapter two) than with the other chapters, doubtless because of having taught such a course for a good many years. The most serious shortcoming is its insufficient attention to the centuries-long roots of antisemitism (the adversus judaeos tradition) in Christian history and writings (which cannot be separated even from Hitler's non-Christian or anti-Christian views). Moreover, the set ofreadings under the section "The Christian Response" is inadequate: only two, or possibly three, of the articles cited are truly relevant. Such criticisms are not meant to deny that there is much valuable and eminently useful material and guidance here. Two chapters deal with less well-known subjects and thus offer interesting new material for the reader to consider. One concerns Edith Stein, the German Jewess become a Roman Catholic nun and murdered at Auschwitz in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 159-161
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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