Refocusing Loss Through the Holocaust’s Lens

By Arlene Stein

American Jewish Loss After the Holocaust
By Laura Levitt
NYU Press, 312 pages, $39.

Although the Holocaust is increasingly visible in American life, it remains forbidden territory. We distance ourselves from it, bathing it in Hollywood homilies to the power of human kindness. We draw boundaries around it, housing it in concrete structures, hoping to contain it.

The alternative — to look clearly into the eye of unimaginable horror — threatens to make us crazy. How can one enter that place of mass death without being driven to despair? How can Jews, in particular, build clear-headed connections to their murdered cousins while affirming the value of life in the present?