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HIDDEN INHERITANCE: Family Secrets, Memory, and Faith ~Heidi B. Neumark

I was drawn into this story on the very first page of reading.  I agreed with Lillian Daniel, who wrote on the cover of the book, “This is a family tree worth climbing.”

Part Memoir and part detective novel this book is full of beautiful words and exegesis work, which is then perfectly meshed into current social justice issues which confront our daily lives.   There is an element where the book is also a great sermon playing out in one life and the extended family system; the examples are all personal stories of discovery and secrets explored.  How and why Neumark was called to become a pastor and work on human and justice issues within the confines of her family structures and shared experiences, was it just her environment or her genetics that allowed her to hear the call?

Neumark is called late at night by her daughter who is working on a graduate school project and discovers that her family is Jewish and is referenced on Wikipedia.  Neumark’s life had been centered on being a German Lutheran and not a Jew.  She knew her father was emigrated from Germany and now discovers that her Grandfather died in a Concentration Camp and that her Grandmother did not.  There were some of her family members still Jewish and still alive and that her Father had kept his secret even from her Mother and held on in silence to the whole story.

The book is Pastor Neumark’s journey to discover the truth and integrate the why and how her father became Lutheran and how that saved his life and his sisters lives also.  The beauty of scripture and poetry and theological concepts are penned into the story as she goes to the various sites of her family’s life in Germany and the layers of family are revealed and exposed – the silent conspiracy is broken and spoken into the pages with depth and caring.

“Hidden Inheritance will appeal to a wide gamut of readers; Christians with an interest in social justice, Jews and others interested in stories of the Shoah and its ongoing impact, those interested in issues of Jewish/Christian identity and dual identities, the impact of trauma and secrecy, readers of memoirs, and anyone interested in pursuing family genealogy. “ (From Media release)

The Meryl Zegarek PR firm sent me a copy of this book for review and I give it high marks for intelligent writing and interesting story and history.  History is well integrated into social justice and human needs and is explored on a personal level and as a well -researched understanding.

Twitter @MZPR

I have mentioned this book to nearly everyone I have encountered and now I share it with you.  It was a pleasure to read and contemplate.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: (From book cover)

“Heidi B. Neumark is a speaker and Lutheran pastor in New York City.  She is the author of the highly acclaimed book BREATHING SPACE: A Spiritual Journey in the South Bronx, has published numerous chapters and sermons in other books, and is a regular contributor to THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY and other journals.”

Life From Scratch
When Women Were Birds
My Stroke of Insight

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4 Responses to “HIDDEN INHERITANCE: Family Secrets, Memory, and Faith ~Heidi B. Neumark”

  1. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Patricia — For you to say,

    “I have mentioned this book to nearly everyone I have encountered and now I share it with you. It was a pleasure to read and contemplate”

    is more than enough of a green light, thumbs-up. Thank you for this great recommendation.
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    Patricia Reply:

    I persuaded my book group to read this book for February – I very much enjoyed this memoir and the lovely writing.

  2. Sam Juliano Says:

    This kind of story is right up my narrative wheelhouse. I am thinking here of the films IDA and WOMAN IN GOLD. But there are so many other books and films that examine the Jewish experience and the various disturbing intrigues connected to the Holocaust.

    Excellent writing here Patricia.
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    Patricia Reply:

    Once again thank you for your kind words – sometimes they just keep me going. It was a well-written book and full of lovely references to scripture and Jewish stories, not to mention Social Justice issues in the Bronx.
    I am hoping my book group likes this book as much as I did. We are moving the review back a month, because the book is so new it is hard to get copies for everyone to read.
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