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People love dead Jews : reports from a…
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People love dead Jews : reports from a haunted present (2021 original; edició 2021)

de Dara Horn

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
12413185,272 (4.36)26
Finalist for the 2021 Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction A startling and profound exploration of how Jewish history is exploited to comfort the living. Renowned and beloved as a prizewinning novelist, Dara Horn has also been publishing penetrating essays since she was a teenager. Often asked by major publications to write on subjects related to Jewish culture--and increasingly in response to a recent wave of deadly antisemitic attacks--Horn was troubled to realize what all of these assignments had in common: she was being asked to write about dead Jews, never about living ones. In these essays, Horn reflects on subjects as far-flung as the international veneration of Anne Frank, the mythology that Jewish family names were changed at Ellis Island, the blockbuster traveling exhibition Auschwitz, the marketing of the Jewish history of Harbin, China, and the little-known life of the "righteous Gentile" Varian Fry. Throughout, she challenges us to confront the reasons why there might be so much fascination with Jewish deaths, and so little respect for Jewish lives unfolding in the present. Horn draws upon her travels, her research, and also her own family life--trying to explain Shakespeare's Shylock to a curious ten-year-old, her anger when swastikas are drawn on desks in her children's school, the profound perspective offered by traditional religious practice and study--to assert the vitality, complexity, and depth of Jewish life against an antisemitism that, far from being disarmed by the mantra of "Never forget," is on the rise. As Horn explores the (not so) shocking attacks on the American Jewish community in recent years, she reveals the subtler dehumanization built into the public piety that surrounds the Jewish past--making the radical argument that the benign reverence we give to past horrors is itself a profound affront to human dignity.… (més)
Membre:gporton
Títol:People love dead Jews : reports from a haunted present
Autors:Dara Horn
Informació:New York : W. W. Norton & Company, 2021.
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:Cap

Informació de l'obra

People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present de Dara Horn (2021)

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» Mira també 26 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 13 (següent | mostra-les totes)
There are parts of this book that are interesting like the story of the Jews of Hadrin. However, overall this book annoyed me. The author appeared so pessimistic about antisemitism being every where and just around the corner at every moment. She also seemed to find antisemitism where I don't think it really occurred. For example, she tells the story of how names were not actually changed at Ellis Island. Since names weren't changed there it must be that names were changed by the people themselves afterwards but they lied about the story because they were embarrassed to tell their children that they changed their name due to antisemitism. (I actually had heard on the tour at Ellis Island that the names were probably changed on the registry in Europe where they bought the tickets and records were kept as accurately). So overall. Not my favorite book. Would not suggest it. ( )
  KamGeb | Jun 29, 2022 |
This was a very thought-provoking, unsetlling read. The essays here, which can stand alone but also make up a compelling whole, address how it's easy for people in U.S. and European societies to spout platitudes against anti-Semitism while still perpetuating it with their words and actions. Horn points out that acts of anti-Semitism, that have been committed for thousands of years up through the present, don't matter because they're lessons for non-Jews, or occasions for non-Jews to act out "redemption arcs." They matter because real people, generations, societies are harmed in these actions. These actions are wrong, period. "Fictional Dead Jews" was one of the more challenging essays for me to read, because it made me think about how much I want and expect any narrative, in my life or in fiction, to follow a "redemption arc," and how that arc is very Christian. I will admit, my favorite essay was the last one, "Dead American Jews, part three: turning the page," in large part because it has that uplifting ending that I've been trained to desire. It's a beautiful description of how religious practices can provide comfort. I appreciated the mix of history, ethics, description of places (Harbin, China) and people (like Varian Fry), as well as of religious traditions and current practices. The prose was lovely; this was a hard book to put down, even though it grapples with so many horrible human actions. ( )
  Beth3511 | Feb 24, 2022 |
Horn provides some fascinating insights into Jewish history and antisemitism. This thin volume shares a number of unique perspectives that I've never thought about before — which is exactly what I look for in a book. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | Feb 16, 2022 |
The title of Dara Horn's collection of essays matches the tone of its contents: attention-grabbing, sarcastic, brimming with anger. Horn explores the phenomenon of many (non-Jewish) people being more comfortable with reading stories about the Holocaust that have uplifting messages about a homogenised humanity than they are with learning anything about living, breathing Jewish people, let alone trying to protect those lives. The twelve essays range widely—from the past and present of anti-Jewish bigotry in the US, to the now-vanished Jewish community of Harbin in China, to talking about The Merchant of Venice with her ten-year-old son. Horn provides the reader with much to think about, and I know that I will mull over what she has to say about the hegemony of Christian frameworks in subconsciously shaping the rhythms of narrative arcs.

However, there were parts of the book that I found less successful. There is a bit of a tendency to conflate Judaism as a whole with Ashkenazi Jews, and to frame secular/atheist Jews as assimilated/self-loathing—both of these aspects seemed reductive to me. There is much that is sad and regrettable about heritage language loss, but a Jewish person who doesn't speak or read Yiddish or Hebrew is no less Jewish because of it than I'm less Irish because my Gaeilge is only líofa liofa. Horn also skirts much engagement with modern Israeli politics and practices (which is fine, she is American), but some of what she did say had me jotting question marks in the margins. Horn's understanding of Jewish history seems to align very much with the so-called "lachrymose" school (the first part of David Nirenberg's Communities of Violence provides a good introductory overview of the historiography of Judaism), and this produces a tension with her implicit Zionist sympathies. Had Horn I think dug into that more, this would have been a stronger work. ( )
  siriaeve | Jan 24, 2022 |
In this essay collection, novelist Dara Horn examines antisemitism past and present. She concludes that while there is a lot of sentimentality surrounding certain well-known symbols of the Holocaust, and a plethora of inspirational survival stories (mostly fiction), there is not an equivalent outpouring of concern about the continuance of uniquely Jewish culture in the US and elsewhere. She finds solace in raising her observant family and online Talmud reading.

A thought-provoking, engagingly written, but at times difficult, read. ( )
  akblanchard | Jan 18, 2022 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 13 (següent | mostra-les totes)
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For Maya, Ari, Eli, Ronan,  
   who know how to live
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Sometimes your body is someone else’s haunted house.
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It occurs to me that Jewish tradition, like every tradition, is designed to protect against oblivion, capturing ancient experiences in ritual and story and passing them between generations—-
The Holocaust didn’t happen because of a lack of love. It happened because entire societies abdicated responsibility for their own problems, and instead blamed them on the people who represented - have always represented . . . the thing they were most afraid of: responsibility.
Some other people might go to Holocaust museums to feel sad, and then to feel proud of themselves for feeling sad. They will have learned something officially important, discovered a fancy metaphor for the limits of Western civilization. The problem is that for us, dead Jews aren't a metaphor, but rather actual people that we do not want our children to become. (189)
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Finalist for the 2021 Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction A startling and profound exploration of how Jewish history is exploited to comfort the living. Renowned and beloved as a prizewinning novelist, Dara Horn has also been publishing penetrating essays since she was a teenager. Often asked by major publications to write on subjects related to Jewish culture--and increasingly in response to a recent wave of deadly antisemitic attacks--Horn was troubled to realize what all of these assignments had in common: she was being asked to write about dead Jews, never about living ones. In these essays, Horn reflects on subjects as far-flung as the international veneration of Anne Frank, the mythology that Jewish family names were changed at Ellis Island, the blockbuster traveling exhibition Auschwitz, the marketing of the Jewish history of Harbin, China, and the little-known life of the "righteous Gentile" Varian Fry. Throughout, she challenges us to confront the reasons why there might be so much fascination with Jewish deaths, and so little respect for Jewish lives unfolding in the present. Horn draws upon her travels, her research, and also her own family life--trying to explain Shakespeare's Shylock to a curious ten-year-old, her anger when swastikas are drawn on desks in her children's school, the profound perspective offered by traditional religious practice and study--to assert the vitality, complexity, and depth of Jewish life against an antisemitism that, far from being disarmed by the mantra of "Never forget," is on the rise. As Horn explores the (not so) shocking attacks on the American Jewish community in recent years, she reveals the subtler dehumanization built into the public piety that surrounds the Jewish past--making the radical argument that the benign reverence we give to past horrors is itself a profound affront to human dignity.

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