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Wounds into Wisdom
Cover of Wounds into Wisdom
Wounds into Wisdom
Healing Intergenerational Jewish Trauma
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2020 NAUTILUS BOOK AWARD: GOLD IN PSYCHOLOGY
FOREWORD REVIEWS 2019 BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS FINALIST IN BOTH THE RELIGION AND SELF-HELP CATEGORIES

Our past does not simply disappear. The painful history of our ancestors and their rich cultural wisdom intertwine within us to create the patterns of our future. Even when past trauma remains unspoken or has long been forgotten, it becomes part of us and our children—a legacy of both strength and woundedness that shapes our lives.

In this book, Tirzah Firestone brings to life the profound impact of protracted historical trauma through the compelling narratives of Israeli terror victims, Holocaust survivors, and those whose lives were marred by racial persecution and displacement. The tragic story of Firestone's own family lays the groundwork for these revealing testimonies of recovery, forgiveness, and moral leadership. Throughout, Firestone interweaves their voices with neuroscientific and psychological findings, as well as relevant and inspiring Jewish teachings.

Seven principles emerge from these wise narratives—powerful prescriptive tools that speak to anyone dealing with the effects of past injury. At the broadest level, these principles are directives for staying morally awake in a world rife with terror.

2020 NAUTILUS BOOK AWARD: GOLD IN PSYCHOLOGY
FOREWORD REVIEWS 2019 BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS FINALIST IN BOTH THE RELIGION AND SELF-HELP CATEGORIES

Our past does not simply disappear. The painful history of our ancestors and their rich cultural wisdom intertwine within us to create the patterns of our future. Even when past trauma remains unspoken or has long been forgotten, it becomes part of us and our children—a legacy of both strength and woundedness that shapes our lives.

In this book, Tirzah Firestone brings to life the profound impact of protracted historical trauma through the compelling narratives of Israeli terror victims, Holocaust survivors, and those whose lives were marred by racial persecution and displacement. The tragic story of Firestone's own family lays the groundwork for these revealing testimonies of recovery, forgiveness, and moral leadership. Throughout, Firestone interweaves their voices with neuroscientific and psychological findings, as well as relevant and inspiring Jewish teachings.

Seven principles emerge from these wise narratives—powerful prescriptive tools that speak to anyone dealing with the effects of past injury. At the broadest level, these principles are directives for staying morally awake in a world rife with terror.

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About the Author-
  • Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, Ph.D., is an author, Jungian psychotherapist, and founding rabbi of Congregation Nevei Kodesh in Boulder, Colorado.

    Raised in a large Orthodox family as the younger sister of the late, groundbreaking radical feminist Shulamith Firestone (author of The Dialectic of Sex), Firestone's spiritual curiosity called her to search beyond the confines of her family's strict Jewish upbringing. Leaving home, she embarked upon a life-changing spiritual odyssey that she chronicled in With Roots in Heaven: One Woman's Passionate Journey into the Heart of Her Faith. After immersing herself in a wide variety of spiritual practices and worldviews, Firestone returned with fresh vigor to become a rabbi in a pluralistic and egalitarian Judaism.

    Now Rabbi Emerita, Firestone's research on the transformation of collective trauma draws on the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and Jewish literature. Through interviews, case studies, and autobiographical stories, she demonstrates how trauma residue passes from generation to generation and how it can be transformed.

Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    April 1, 2019

    The theory of intergenerational trauma posits that psychological legacies of horror, suffering, and loss can be unconsciously transmitted among generations of family. While the children and grandchildren may not have a direct experience of the initial ordeal, its effects can continue to impact their lives significantly; so much so that they carry the burden of an unnamed survivor's guilt. The mentality of "never forget" morphs into a place of keeping the trauma alive. Rabbi and psychotherapist Firestone considers the suffering experienced by an entire ethnic group: specifically, Jews in the aftermath of the Holocaust as well as Jews caught in the violence of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. Of her own life, the author remarks, ."..I comprehended just how a family's ancestral trauma rumbles through history like a train, depositing its load, car after car, into our newborn skin." In her experience, silence becomes weaponized, freezing spouses, children, and grandchildren in time, without redemption. Culling together a multiplicity of narratives, Firestone offers seven principles focused on facing and transforming family grief into a coherent, powerful sense of agency. VERDICT Combining religion and self-help, these timely reflections make for comforting reading.--Sandra Collins, Byzantine Catholic Seminary Lib., Pittsburgh

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Wounds into Wisdom
Healing Intergenerational Jewish Trauma
Tirzah Firestone
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