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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Too much history

I just loved Geraldine Brooks' People of the Book, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  Coincidentally, the sections of the textbook for my b'nai mitzvah class, Jewish Literacy, that we're reading now, concerns the same historical time period - namely, the Middle Ages.  And I recently started reading Dara Horn's The World to Come, which includes some flashbacks to pogroms in Poland between the world wars. And of course I just finished The Book Thief and recently saw Sarah's Key, both about the Holocaust.  It's not that I don't know this history, but I must admit that it's getting a bit overwhelming to read so many accounts of Jewish slaughter.  It's not just war or killing either, it's burning people alive, torturing them during the Inquisition, cutting babies from living women's wombs, and on and on like that.  I realize the Jews have not been the only victims of these horrific acts.  But it does start to feel oppressive - Jewish history is so full of this aggressive and vicious destruction, motivated by searing and inexplicable hatred.  I always think of that line from The Chosen: "How the world delights in killing us."



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