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.
Table of Contents
Introduction: New Light on a Dark History
Chapter One: The Price of Silence
Chapter Two: Trauma Mind and Body: The Paradox of Survival
Chapter Three: The Importance of Being Witnessed
Chapter Four: Awakenings
Chapter Five: The Terrible Gift
Principle One: Facing the Loss
Principle Two: Harnessing the Power of Pain
Principle Three: Finding New Community
Principle Four: Resisting the Call to Fear, Blame, Dehumanize
Principle Five: Disidentifying from Victimhood
Principle Six: Redefining Chosenness
Principle Seven: Taking Action