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Victor Jeleniewski Seidler

Drawing on her poetry as well as her theology, this article explores Sheila Shulman’s multiple engagements with feminisms that have transformed patriarchal traditions within Judaism and opened new spaces to engage the integrity of differences. Thinking across boundaries and developing practices of ‘reading whole’, she showed ways of engaging traditional texts that call upon us to be honest and present to ourselves as we shape new forms of community. As a teacher she inspired many to read attentively and with love and to frame questions that mattered to the world.

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Victor Jeleniewski Seidler

What is Jewish about memory and how does it relate to questions of justice and redemption? Within European modernities we learn to think of ourselves as rational selves and within a liberal moral culture to put the past behind us, so making it difficult to engage with the traumatic histories of the Shoah and the moral challenges it offers to European moral traditions. Does Judaism provide a critique of secular moral traditions and open possibilities for an embodied ethical tradition that values memory and so engagements with the past, while reminding us that ‘not to know sufferings means not to be human’? (Genesis Rabbah 92:1).

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'Their Hearts Melted and Became as Water'

Lamentations – Ethics after Auschwitz

Victor Jeleniewski Seidler

There is a movement from the impersonal towards a more personal voice that is figured through the widow and so through some sense of the feminine. Is it through the feminine that we can know loss and so give voice to sorrow?

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Obligations to the Dead

Historical Justice and Cultural Memory

Victor Jeleniewski Seidler

Exploring some of the tensions in the recent international conference on 'Jews and Non-Jews in Lithuania: Coexistence, Cooperation, Violence', held at UCL in December 2012, I show how they relate to ways in which the Holocaust is to be understood and historical justice done not only to those who were murdered and suffered but also to the sufferings of Lithuanians under Soviet Occupation. Questioning the notion of a 'double holocaust' that would seek some equivalence I also interrogate assumptions informing the programme of the Prague Declaration. I explore ethical issues of what it means to do justice to the dead and how this calls for an ethical historiography that goes beyond its positivist frameworks.

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Holocaust Ethics

Difficult Histories and Threatening Memories

Victor Jeleniewski Seidler

On the seventieth anniversary of the destruction of the Vilna ghetto I explore ambivalences in Holocaust memory in the Baltic states and troubling notions of a 'double genocide' while tracing train journeys of death that connected Vienna, Vilna and Tallinn and so western and eastern Europe. Exploring how memories are connected to place and investigating how family legacies of Litvak identity also travel, I show how Musar ethical traditions also journeyed as far as South Africa to influence the ethical politics of the African National Congress. Framing questions about the relationship between ethics and memory across generations I return to the painful warnings in the words of Elchanan Elkes at the destruction of the Kovno ghetto. I trace the possibilities that they help to frame a post-Shoah ethics and a vision of 'the human' that questions the rational self that informed Enlightenment thinking and that proved incapable of resisting the brutalities of Nazism.

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Neil Amswych, Hillel Avidan, Sami Barth, Tony Bayfield, Francis Ronald Berry, Barbara Borts, Jeffrey Cohen, Bernard Davis, Michal Friedlander, Jeffrey Gale, Guy Hall, Richard Harries, Harry Jacobi, Laura Janner-Klausner, Deborah Kahn-Harris, Charles Middleburgh, Jonathan Magonet, Dow Marmur, Julia Neuberger, Phil Pegum, Danny Rich, Jonathan Romain, Walter Rothschild, Elli Tikvah Sarah, Victor Jeleniewski Seidler, Michael Shire, Judy Smith, Jackie Tabick, Charles Wallach and Andrea Zanardo

In this section we have gathered a range of shorter personal memoirs from former students and colleagues reflecting their immediate responses to the loss of Lionel as a personal friend, colleague, teacher or spiritual mentor.