Wounds into Wisdom: Healing Intergenerational Jewish Trauma by Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, PhD

Released: April 2, 2019

Contact for Review Copies & Interviews: Ginger Price, Monkfish Book Publishing, (404) 232-0546 | gingerpprice@gmail.com

“Suffering trauma is tragedy enough, but burying tragedy only creates a magnet for more suffering. This book is for anyone who has suffered trauma, either directly or in a family whose generational trauma is buried.” — Gloria Steinem

Our past does not simply disappear. The lasting effects of individual trauma are widely recognized. But what about the consequences of extreme trauma on an entire ethnic group? Wounds into Wisdom: Healing Intergenerational Jewish Trauma (April 2, 2019, Monkfish Book Publishing Company/Adam Kadmon Book) addresses the impact of both collective and personal trauma in a dramatic portrayal of the lasting effects of extreme stress on the descendants of those who first suffered it. The book reports on new research in neuroscience and clinical psychology in accessible terms, and then demonstrates how trauma can be healed and transformed into usable wisdom.

Fusing science, psychology, and ancient Jewish wisdom, Wounds into Wisdom offers a roadmap for Jews—and all people and groups with trauma history—who wish to seize their power and change their future. Gripping case studies and interviews with trauma survivors and their descendants from around the world demonstrate what Viktor Frankl called “the uniquely human potential to transform personal tragedy into triumph.”

Author Tirzah Firestone, Ph.D., is also a psychotherapist, and founding rabbi of Congregation Nevei Kodesh in Boulder, Colorado. Having studied and counseled hundreds of Jewish families and individuals for over thirty years, Tirzah Firestone brings to life her case studies and interviews with real people who have surmounted their tragedies. Trauma legacies, Firestone posits, transfer from generation to generation, and Wounds Into Wisdom offers encouragement and solutions to stop the negative effects of our historical traumas from continuing on to future generations.

Central to the book is Firestone’s own upbringing in a large Orthodox Jewish family and as the younger sister of the late radical feminist Shulamith Firestone (author of The Dialectic of Sex). She describes her family’s Holocaust trauma legacy: emotional abuse, parental rejection, mental illness, and suicide. From her own and others’ extraordinary stories, Firestone distills seven principles, rich in Jewish wisdom, that mark a path to new freedom for people who are suffering from trauma.

Importantly, the book focuses on the impact of collective trauma in the world today, as populations are dislocated by war, poverty, government policy, and climate change—and provides a template for people everywhere to emerge from tragedy and reshape their destinies. Relevant not only to the catastrophic past, but also to our current world of turmoil and displacement, Wounds into Wisdom is an essential book for our times.

Monkfish Book Publishing Company and Adam Kadmon Books proudly announce publication of Wounds into Wisdom: Healing Intergenerational Jewish Trauma by Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, Ph.D., and the event Healing Intergenerational Trauma: A Dialogue with Gloria Steinem and Tirzah Firestone to be held at the 92nd Street Y in New York City on April 24, 2019.

U.S. author events are also scheduled for (list in formation): New York City, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, Boulder, Denver, Washington, DC; Miami, Boston, Asheville, Philadelphia, Ashland and Portland, OR.

About the author

Tirzah Firestone is a rabbi, psychotherapist, and acclaimed author based in Boulder, Colorado. She is the younger sister of the famous feminist writer Shulamith Firestone, and is a leader in the International Jewish Renewal Movement and former co-chair of the North American Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.

Monkfish Book Publishing Company is an independent press in Rhinebeck, New York, publishing books that combine spiritual and literary merit. Adam Kadmon Books is a joint imprint between Albion-Andalus and Monkfish. Monkfish and Adam Kadmon Books are distributed to the trade by Consortium Book Sales & Distribution.

Early Praise 

“An explosion of suffering, death and trauma has overtaken humanity during the past century and shows no signs of abating. Rabbi Tirzah Firestone speaks on every page of this deeply moving book with her heart and mind and from the deepest wellsprings of Jewish tradition to find sources of solace to transform wounds into wisdom.” — Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College

“In this illuminating and inspiring book, Rabbi Tirzah Firestone interweaves deeply touching personal stories, including her own, with keen psychological insights to guide us on a journey of awakening and healing our traumas. Highly recommended!” — William Ury, co-author of Getting to Yes and Getting to Yes with Yourself

“This book is both a gift of wisdom and an opening of the heart…we can feel how the author has herself lived through trauma, and has even found her way to become a great healer and teacher. The book is addressed primarily to the Jewish experience of trauma in the twentieth century. But I believe it would be of profound help to anyone seeking to navigate the path to healing from trauma—which, I believe, in some ways, is all of us.” — Rodger Kamenetz, author of The Jew in the Lotus and The History of Last Night’s Dream

“Brilliant, beautiful, and compels one to positive action. The people interviewed are so real and lovable…[the] writing opens one’s heart to healing and hope. This is a book I will read again for inspiration and specific principles to live a joyful, liberated life.” — Dr. Anita Sanchez, author of The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times

“Rabbi Firestone has woven together threads of truth about trauma that include her own family’s life experience of trauma inherited from the Holocaust, the new science of the inherited effects of trauma on genetic material and on the brain, studies of the social impact of traumatic events on groups of people, and the mystical traditions of Kabbalah about the wounded human soul.” — Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Director of the Shalom Center and author of Godwrestling—Round 3

“We all fear trauma and take pains to avoid or bury it. As a result, trauma…can be passed unknowingly from generation to generation…The power of this book is in the stories she relates of people who’ve suffered extreme pain, faced it head-on, and found a path to healing. The stories soften our hearts, inspire gratitude and compassion for our fellow humans, and give us the tools to make sure the train of trauma goes no further.” — Sara Davidson, author Joan: 40 Years of Life, Loss, and Friendship with Joan Didion