Jacob Neusner, the preeminent Judaic scholar who is himself a Jew and a Zionist, here 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 world view 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 twenty years, these systematically related essays begin with an analysis of the social and psychological problems confronting American Jews. The second and third set of studies concern the implications of the two elements that constitute the mythic vision that begins in death, "the Holocaust," and is completed by rebirth, "Israel." Finally the author offers his view of the actual and desirable role of Zionism for the Jewish community outside of Israel.
Neusner's penetrating exposition sheds light on the search of 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.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"Neusner writes with force, clarity, and felicity of style. . . . The work demonstrates that the author would rather live with the serious question, no matter how disturbing, than with a shallow, easy answer. . . . This gives the essays, which form a unified work, an integrity and authenticity which I find so welcome because, alas, it is all too rare."
Abraham Karp, University of Rochester
Jacob Neusner is Research Professor of Religion and Theology at Bard College and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard. He has published more than 900 books and unnumbered articles, both scholarly and academic and popular and journalistic, and is the most published humanities scholar in the world. He has been awarded nine honorary degrees, including seven US and European honorary doctorates. He received his AB from Harvard College in 1953, his PhD from Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary in 1961, and rabbinical ordination and the degree of Master of Hebrew Letters from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1960.
Neusner is editor of the 'Encyclopedia of Judaism' (Brill, 1999. I-III) and its Supplements; Chair of the Editorial Board of 'The Review of Rabbinic Judaism,' and Editor in Chief of 'The Brill Reference Library of Judaism', both published by E. J. Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands. He is editor of 'Studies in Judaism', University Press of America.
Neusner resides with his wife in Rhinebeck, New York. They have a daughter, three sons and three daughters-in-law, six granddaughters and two grandsons.