American Jewry's Stunted Sons

The middle of the 20th century inaugurated a time when American Jewish sons stopped being able to imagine themselves as Jewish fathers—and we’re still living in it.

Philip Roth in 1968. Bob Peterson/Getty Images.

Philip Roth in 1968. Bob Peterson/Getty Images.

Ruth R. Wisse
COLUMN
June 16 2022
About Ruth

Ruth R. Wisse is a Mosaic columnist, professor emerita of Yiddish and comparative literatures at Harvard and a distinguished senior fellow at the Tikvah Fund. Her memoir Free as a Jew: a Personal Memoir of National Self-Liberation, chapters of which appeared in Mosaic in somewhat different form, is out from Wicked Son Press.

From the Hebrew Bible through the Netanyahu family, the survival and flourishing of Jewish civilization has depended on what could be called a series of profiles in courage. Jews have followed the Torah of a God whom we have not been afraid to challenge. We overcome the most difficult circumstances, and continually prove our resilience against the jealous insecurities of others.

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