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By Jacob Neusner / Wipf & Stock / 2003
Preeminent Judaic scholar and Zionist Jacob Neusner explores the issue he believes to be at the very heart of American Judaism: how two events remote from the experience of most American Jews have become the twin pillars upon which their worldview is built. These two events—the murder of six million Jews between 1933 and 1945 and the subsequent creation of the State of Israel—form what Neusner calls “the myth of the Holocaust and redemption.” Stranger at Home scrutinizes the paradox of a central myth generated out of events never witnessed and a place never inhabited by the majority of American Jewry. Written over a period of nearly 20 years, these essays begin with an analysis of the social and psychological problems confronting American Jews, then explore the implications of the two elements that constitute the mythic vision that begins in death (the Holocaust) and is completed by rebirth (Israel.) Finally Neusner offers his view of the role of Zionism for the Jewish community outside of Israel. Neusner’s penetrating exposition sheds light on the search for an American minority culture for identity in the context of freedom and free choice and on the process of adaptation of an archaic religious tradition to modernity.