Generation J: Call Us a Bunch of Searchers. Call Us Post-Holocaust Jews

by Lisa Schiffman

Book, 1999



Call number

655 SCH


[San Francisco] : HarperSanFrancisco, c1999.


"I'm not alone. I am part of a generation of fragmented Jews. We're in a kind of limbo. We're suspended between young adulthood and middle age, between Judaism and atheism, between a desire to believe in religion and a personal history of skepticism. Call us a bunch of searchers. Call us post-Holocaust Jews. Call us Generation J." Generation J is the ambivalent generation: unaffiliated seekers, men and women who have grown up questioning the bounds of organized religion. Lisa Schiffman is one of these seekers, and Generation J chronicles her journey through the contradictory landscape of Jewish identity. Moving from the personal to the universal, from autobiography to anthropology, from laughter to tears, Schiffman shows us the many ways in which one can be religious. Whether dipping into a ritual bath, getting henna-tattooed with the Star of David, unravelling the mysteries of the kabbalah, or confronting what Jewish tradition has to say about gay marriage, Schiffman reveals the conflicts of meaning and connection common to all who try to chart their own spiritual path. And, through it all, with humor and sensitivity, she confronts the reasons for her own quest and begins to untangle some of the thorniest questions about identity, community, and religion in America today. This engaging exploration of what it means to be Jewish is every bit as much a fascinating tour of the varieties of contemporary Jewish practice as it is an unusual personal quest. Smart, funny, and provocative, Schiffman brilliantly explores the problems and possibilities facing any spiritual seeker today.  … (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member raizel
A young woman explores what being Jewish means to her through interviews and personal research and observance. The cover says, over a photograph of a star of David set within a vine, "Call us a bunch of searchers. Call us Post-Holocaust Jews. Call us Generation J."
Ms. Shiffman concludes, "What was
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essential to Judaism? To my Judaism? Books and people." [p. 156] And "My Judaism was a trajectory, a continuum, an intuitive process punctuated by moments of cognition. Some days it was a brain-based religious thing, full of demands for logic and a grapple with text. Some days it was a feeling of identity. Some days it was in my body, my marrow; it coursed through my veins. Some days it was something best understood by he senses. On those days I often found a few seconds of peace, a sense of wholeness. [p. 157]
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Original publication date



0062515772 / 9780062515773

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