Free as a Jew: A Personal Memoir of National Self-Liberation (Hardcover)
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A Jewish child born into the worst of times in Europe grows up during the best of times in North America—only to recognize that it could be moving back in the opposite direction.
First came parents with the good sense to flee Europe in 1940 and the good fortune to reach the land of freedom. Their daughter, Ruth, grew up in the shadow of genocide—but in tandem with the birth of Israel, which remained her lodestar. She learned that although Jewishness is biologically transmitted, democracy is not, and both require intensive, intelligent transmission through education in each and every generation. They need adults with the confidence to teach their importance. Ruth tried to take on that challenge as dangers to freedom mounted and shifted sides on the political spectrum. At the high point of her teaching at Harvard University, she witnessed the unraveling of standards of honesty and truth until the academy she left was no longer the one she had entered.
About the Author
Ruth R. Wisse was Professor of Yiddish literature and Comparative Literature at Harvard University from 1993–2014 and before that, helped found the Jewish Studies Department at McGill University. Currently a senior fellow at the Tikvah Fund and recipient of its Herzl Prize, she has written widely on cultural and political subjects for the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, National Affairs, and other publications. Her books include The Schlemiel as Modern Hero, The Modern Jewish Canon: A Journey Through Literature and Culture, No Joke: Making Jewish Humor, If I Am Not for Myself: The Liberal Betrayal of the Jews, and Jews and Power. In 2007, she was awarded the National Medal for the Humanities, and in 2004, an Honorary Degree by Yeshiva University.