This last year is the first time that I’ve sought out Jewish Literature. I’ve always enjoyed books about the Jewish experience if I happened upon them. But this year I am trying to become somewhat up to date with the genre because by this time next year I will be putting the finishing touches on From Ashes into Light by Gudrun Mouw, a book about, in part, the Jewish experience during World War II.
My husband is Jewish and his grandparents emigrated from Germany in the 1930s. I have a keen sense of relief every time I think on this. I am so thankful to those grandparents, both passed now, and the factors that allowed them to escape. It has away of coloring my sense of what’s right and wrong. It gives me perspective when confronted with trivial discomforts of a daily life without war or discrimination. Two of my own grandparents were also both German citizens during WWII and had their own abominable experiences living through war. So I grew up with a feeling that I was privileged in simply living in a non-war zone.
But even still, I remember thinking as a teen that “I’ve read enough books about the Holocaust and WW II.” I think I was trying to protect myself from how painful reading those stories felt. Now, seeking them out, I recognize the benefit of tears, feeling empathy for others and honoring their suffering in a way. Today, it doesn’t hurt me, even though it hurts; in fact, it may provide brief moments of healing.
Some of the books I’m reading include the “Book Thief,” “People of the Book,” “Sarah’s Key,” “Henna House,” “Night,” and “Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Book I.” The above authors are amazing, and it makes me feel proud to be a small part of the publishing community.