IWSG (Worries About Jakob’s Story)

My What’s Up Wednesday post is here.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group convenes the first Wednesday of every month, and gives participants an opportunity to vent, share struggles and triumphs, and just commiserate in general. This month, I’m really nervous about my planned upcoming release day on Friday. I really, really hope nothing goes wrong and that I’m able to release it on time. (As of Tuesday night, my cover still isn’t here!)

It frustrates me when people bleat about how there are “too many” WWII/Shoah books, claim it’s the same story over and over, and insinuate that historical writers only chose that era because it’s popular and “overdone.” They know nothing about my motivations for or interest in writing about this era. Every person’s story was different, and not all Shoah books are just a parade of macabre horrors. Some of them don’t even take place in the camps, or if they do, the focus is not on the horror.

There was a wonderful speaker at my campus last Sunday for Yom HaShoah, fairly young for a survivor (only born 1934). He and his mother were hidden in Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary. I spoke to him after the lecture, and he agreed there’s no such thing as “too many” Shoah books, since the story still needs heard. There are less and less living survivors, and someone needs to witness to the new generation. By hearing survivors speak, I have become a witness myself.

People who deny the Shoah can get bent. They’re on par with people who deny the Armenian Genocide, Flat Earthers, and vaccine-denialists. When all the survivors are gone, we’ll have to rely on books and memories from those of us who’ve been lucky enough to meet survivors and hear their stories.

Warning: Language NSFW!

This is probably a silly, baseless worry, but part of me is also worried because my characters are Progressive, and I have a lot of Orthodox friends and frequently attend Orthodox services. So these characters do things like use electricity on holidays, only eat kosher meat for holidays, kiss before marriage, and eat chametz (leavened products) past mid-day on the eve of Pesach.

I’m worried about certain of the most stridently Orthodox people I know coming at me with comments about how could I positively depict Progressive Judaism (the European equivalent of Reform, and slightly more traditional). They might wonder if I’m insincere about my own level of observance, and why I didn’t make everyone Orthodox, or at least more traditional. I felt it was honest to the time and place to make them Progressive, just as my German-born Brandts are Conservative (then called Positive-Historical Judaism) and my Polish-born, Yiddish-speaking Roblenskies have traditional/Orthodox origins.

It’s always been important to me to positively depict all the denominations, particularly since there’s a persistent ultra-Orthodox myth/slander that the non-Orthodox aren’t observant, don’t care too much about their Judaism, and are going to disappear in a few generations because of a lower birthrate and higher intermarriage rate. In spite of all my Liberal Modern Orthodox leanings, that really, really, really offends me.

 

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9 thoughts on “IWSG (Worries About Jakob’s Story)

  1. A high school near where I live recently caused an uproar with parents when they gave the kids an assignment to defend whether the holocaust was true or not. The school later apologized and decided against the assignment. The school superintendent, Mr. Mohamed Islam, said that he that he knew nothing about the assignment.

    I thought it was a rather strange story for a high school.

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

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  2. I don’t think anything in history can be overdone because there’s so many angles you can use, so many people/characters that haven’t been written about, so many untold stories!

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  3. Seems to me you will also reach a broader audience with the less orthodox approach. Bottom line – keep the story ‘real’. Those who may be offended are not the ones you want to reach anyway. (pearls for the swine and all that)

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  4. That story about the California school assignment – whether or not the Holocaust existed – made furor on the internet. You might’ve noticed, by his name, that the super is Muslim.
    Interesting fact: the number of people who died in the Holocaust is about 100 times more than the number of people who died in the battle of Waterloo. Nobody is denying that battle or argues whether it was true or not. Nobody blames the dead for that battle either. Maybe because it concerned British and French soldiers, not Jewish children?

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    • Sorry, but I have to respond. One cannot tell by a name what the religion of a person is. And the vast majority of Muslims would never deny the holocaust. That man may be Muslim but that does not mean all Muslims share his beliefs. The vast majority do not and are peaceful people who want harmony – just like the rest of us. And no, I am NOT Mulsim. I am only a lover of the truth.

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      • Exactly. I’ve grown up around Muslims my whole life, and still fondly remember the friendship my family shared with an Iranian family while I was growing up in the Eighties and early Nineties. They weren’t very religious, but I loved helping them celebrate Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. At one point, I knew some Persian words from them teaching me. The entire Jewish population of Albania was also saved from the Nazis, since the people felt it their Muslim duty to save their friends.

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  5. I don’t understand how anyone can say there are too many books. First, if it’s non-fiction, we should treasure people’s eye witness accounts since that generation is dying off. If it’s fiction, we should appreciate different pov’s. Also, within one event, there are always some incidences or sides that haven’t been fully explored.

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