What is the proper response to a blessing? According to Rav Ish-Shalom, we learn the answer from a an unexpected source: the mourner’s Kaddish.View full post
In every generation, there is a clash between new ideas and interpretations, which are necessary for the survival of Judaism, and the older, static, “more authentic” ways. And in each instance, the newer ways entail ideas brought in from outside of the “old Judaism”. The Sadducees represented “authentic” Judaism based on written texts; but it was the new ideas picked up during the Babylonian Exile that were needed to ensure Jewish survival in a changing world.View full post
Jewish Law represents the accumulation of our national wisdom and the repository for our experience as a people. We are unique in our identity as a people with a particular relationship with God and with history. Whether any particular halakhic decision is made by a rav in response to circumstance or goes all the way back to Moshe and Sinai is irrelevant; all are part of our cultural DNA and are no less God-given than our physical DNA. It is quite literally a part of us. And we are a part of it. We all have an input to the halakhic process just by doing or not doing.View full post
Former Sonderkommando Ovadya ben Malka discusses the nature of evil with Rabbi Ish-Shalom: Was the Holocaust really the work of psychopathic monsters or of people like you and me, whose choices led them to inhuman actions?View full post
A Damaged Mirror – Home
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Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo speculates on the implications of resurgent memory in our day. Could it be that we are witnessing the revival of the dead without even recognizing it?
He can’t speak of what he was forced to do to survive the horrors of Birkenau. She is haunted by a memory of something she could not have lived. Together, they must unlock the gates of memory and face unspeakable horror, to find the hope that lies beyond despair.
This page is specifically geared toward book clubs and discussion groups. It contains questions to guide readers through some of the issues raised by A Damaged Mirror with regard to the the Holocaust in general, the Sonderkommando in particular, and the way in which the characters deal with their memory of the past.