A Valiant and Admirable Psychoanalytic View of the Jews

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1998, Vol 43(11), 761-762. In a heavily documented and well-researched volume, Avner Falk (1996) deals expandedly with A Psychoanalytic History of the Jews. In 50 chapters he writes about 4,000 years of history, including the tragedies of Jewish history, the Jews as “an eternal people,” their exiles, their losses, the dual identity in the lands of the Diaspora, the massacres of the Jews, the ongoing persecutions of Jews, all culminating in the Holocaust. Falk deals with much of the history from the aspect of the unconscious emotional dynamics. As a psychiatrist, Falk connects well in his book with the issues of separation, loss, individuation, and mourning over the centuries in the Jewish psyche. His discussion in the final sections of the book of the unconscious significance of Jerusalem and the entire State of Israel as idealized objects psychologically, sociologically, and culturally is accomplished admirably. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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