The Dirty Dust
Dealing with the past

Hidden Inheritance

Hidden Inheritance: Family Secrets, Memory, and FaithHidden Inheritance: Family Secrets, Memory, and Faith by Heidi B. Neumark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In May I heard Heidi Neumark deliver a presentation entitled "Preaching Killed My Grandparents." Her talk motivated me to buy her book.

Neumark is a Lutheran pastor who learned in mid-life that she was Jewish and that her grandfather died in the Holocaust. This is the memoir of her journey to uncover her family's hidden past and to come to terms with it. The story and her reflections on it are profoundly moving.

One element she wrestles with is faith's complicity in the genocide. In her presentation and in this book she details the horrible Nazi propaganda that spewed from the pulpit of the church her father grew up in, a church she was later invited to preach at. She draws parallels to contemporary issues in which the church continues to abuse people--her congregation runs a shelter for homeless queer youth, many of whom have histories of religious abuse.

Our church book club will be discussing this memoir on Thursday, and I look forward to the conversation.

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