The memory of the Holocaust has haunted the Jewish imagination for three generations. It represents the rupture in our communal history, its shadow falling on everything else. And yet, we have amassed new memories since. Three books by local authors use the legacy of the Holocaust in their attempts to grapple with many facets of the Cold War.
The Los Angeles Jewish community is blessed with many spirited, talented and prolific leaders.
Grief erases all regular rules. All the logic that has ever seemed to govern one's life suddenly seems useless. More than useless, it seems pointless.
"Saving Stanley: The Brickman Stories," by Scott Nadelson (Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts, $15.95).
Recently, a number of young Jewish writers have made successful entrées into the world of publishing. Jonathan Safran Foer, Gary Shteyngert, Dara Horn and others have published novels to critical acclaim, won prizes and, more importantly, audiences for their work.
As opposed to those writers, first-time author Scott Nadelson has chosen the short story as his form.
Lev Raphael, a child of survivors, clearly knows this well. His new novel, "The German Money," tries to take on some of the questions that those who inherit the Holocaust must face. Raphael is also a mystery writer, so he is not only interested in recovering the past, but also in solving its mysteries. Because, as Faulkner implied, the past is always a mystery to us. We can never really know its truths. That's why it cannot die. There is too much for us to figure out.
What do four Jewish American writers talk about when they sit down together to discuss their craft? If the program, "The Next Generation of Jewish American Writing," held at the Skirball Cultural Center earlier this month is any indication, the answer is that they try as hard as they can to talk past their differences but don't quite manage to do so.
Reviewed: "To Do Right and the Good: Jewish Approach to Modern Social Ethics," by Elliot N. Dorff (Jewish Publication Society, $34.95.)
"Matters of Life and Death: A Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Ethics," by Elliot N. Dorff (Jewish Publication Society, $25).
"Love Your Neighbor and Yourself: A Jewish Approach to Modern Personal Ethics," by Elliot N. Dorff (Jewish Publication Society, $34.95).
America's sense of self-definition has been on display more blatantly than ever, it seems. Led by our administration, we have embraced the "cowboy" ethic: seemingly down-home while at the same time unilaterally aggressive.
We live in cynical times. For years, young people have felt disengaged from the political process.