Swimming against the Tide? Melissa Raphael’s Contribution to the Study of Jewish Religious Responses to the Holocaust

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This essay assesses the significance of Melissa Raphael’s The Female Face of God in Auschwitz: A Jewish Feminist Theology of the Holocaust in relation to Jewish feminist theology, the academic study of Jewish religious responses to the Holocaust and gender-focused study of the Holocaust. It evaluates the central role women’s Holocaust testimony plays in Raphael’s methodology and explores whether her analysis should be read as a post-Holocaust feminist meditation on this material and/or as a series of daitns about how women interpreted and reacted to events at the time. Whilst recognising the distinctive and significant contribution the book makes, this article nevertheless argues that Jewish religious responses to the Holocaust are more complex and variegated than Raphael suggests and advocates a reading of this material that pays greater attention to this diversity of approaches.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-46
JournalHolocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Feb 2015