1: Excerpt from Shalom Auslander's “Foreskin’s Lament: A Memoir,” 2008.
This satirical memoir of the author’s upbringing in the Hasidic community of Monsey, New York, focuses on the development of his neuroses, which he attributes to the authoritarian thought structures and social patterns in which he was raised.
Suggested Activity: Read the excerpt aloud with your students. Have your students discuss the notion that some religious people find the idea of God’s control over life’s events – even unfortunate events – comforting. Ask your students to speculate about why the rabbi in Shalom Auslander’s story might find comfort in ascribing his misfortunes to God. Shalom Auslander finds the notion of God’s control immensely distressing. Ask your students why they think Auslander and the rabbi have such different perspectives on the idea of God’s involvement in life events.
Source: Shalom Auslander, Foreskin’s Lament: A Memoir. (New York: Riverhead Books, 2008), pp. 70-72.