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Denison Journal of Religion

Abstract

Grimm argues for a more accessible theology and metaphor for God. She looks to Melissa Raphael's post-Holocaust theology as a beginning to this new trend. Raphael, who started her theological study in the thealogy movement (known for its feminization of God,) brings this knowledge to her study of the Holocaust. The traditional Jewish theological explanation of the Holocaust asserts that God was absent during the Holocaust so as not to interfere with free will. However, this ignores the experience of half of the victims of the Holocaust: women. God appeared absent to some, she says, because they were looking for the wrong God: the patriarchal God who would assert his kingly power. Instead, Raphael says that God was present in the Holocaust in the form of Shekinah, the feminine and extremely imminent metaphor for God. Women in concentration camps recognized God's presence when they washed themselves and each other and acknowledged their humanity. The question became not, "how can God protect us?" but "how can we protect God?" When this is accomplished, God's presence guides men and women to care for and respect each other. Grimm acknowledges that Raphael contributes greatly to a new theological concern to make the divine more available to a wider range of people, but she laments that the Holocaust-specific nature of Raphael's theology of the Shekinah prevents it from being a more widely applicable metaphor.

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