Judaism is a religious culture that places an intense emphasis on continuing the chain of tradition through the context of the family. Yet in an ever-changing contemporary world, families often disagree—sometimes in fundamental ways—about how to live this life. Faced with this disagreement between generations, some choose to ignore these differences, focusing instead on the seemingly uninterrupted flow of history within families. However, reflecting on intergenerational divergence offers important insights on the fundamental nature of family, faith communities, and religion in the contemporary world.
1. Family Narratives and Intergenerational Divergence: How does the way we tell our family’s story impact our family?
2. Dignity in Difference: Can intergenerational divergence be a road to fostering a greater intimacy and growth in a family?
3. Intergenerational Difference and the Jewish Tradition: How can families share a tradition while choosing to practice it differently?
An award-winning book from a writer famous for deeply human profundity, Far from the Tree is a powerful exploration of the question that every family faces in their own ways: how people who love each other work to accept each other for who they are, while helping them become their best selves. Solomon documents with exquisite compassion families with intergenerational divergence, considering families living with deafness, schizophrenia, or criminality, and others with children who are prodigies and those who differ in their gender or sexual identities from their familial culture. In each case, Solomon considers the great beauty and love that can emerge from these differences, and how ordinary families have grown to love each other.