Where does memory go when it cannot be spoken?
Now we know: It goes on to haunt future generations.
It passes unscathed through temperatures that can melt iron
and reduce bone to ash. And somewhere far removed in space and decades
into the future, a stranger wakes out of a sound sleep with an inexplicable nightmare and a despair so deep as to negate life itself.
At seventeen, Alex was torn from his home and deported to Auschwitz. He outlived his family, his faith, and his culture. His memory filled with the death of a people, unable to speak of what he had done to survive, he was locked in the silent prison of his guilt. This unforgettable and breathtakingly powerful book follows Alex on his journey from the ames of Birkenau to atonement, transformation, and redemption.
Returning is a haunting and compelling exploration of the choices we make in a choiceless time, the terrifying strength and burden of the will to survive, and the power of the human spirit to transcend even its own destruction. It will leave you changed forever.
Returning describes a spiritual journey. But what makes this journey significant is not its particulars—the memory of this or that incident, traumatic and world-shattering as it was. No, what makes this journey significant is that it is our journey, as a nation.
— From the Afterword by Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo
What people are saying about Returning
From the horrors of the Birkenau crematoria and the dilemmas of survival that are forever etched in our hearts, to the profound dialogues of Talmudic debate, the authors reach from the past to the present—challenging us to examine ourselves as Jews, and our relation to G-d in a world gone mad.
— Chaya Rosen, Art and Writings of Destruction and Repair
Returning is a must-read for those wishing to embark on a profound, painful, but ultimately hopeful journey into the human soul.
— Yael Unterman, author of Nehama Leibowitz, Teacher and Bible Scholar and The Hidden of Things: Twelve Stories of Love & Longing
About the Author
Yael Shahar was born in the United States and moved to Israel on her own when she was 18. After an adventurous and unattributable career in security and intelligence, Yael now divides her time between researching trends in terrorism and learning Talmud with anyone who will sit still long enough. She is an entertaining and sought-after public speaker, and lectures both in Israel and abroad.
Returning is due to be published by Kasva Press in September 2018