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Judith Greenberg, Ph.D.
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Judith Greenberg, Ph.D., teaches at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU. Trained in comparative literature at Yale, she specializes in issues having to do with memory and trauma. She also writes and teaches about 20th century French and English literature, often focusing on questions of narrative and gender. She has published academic articles on the role of trauma in literature, from the novels of Virginia Woolf to writers responding to the Holocaust authors such as Charlotte Delbo and Patrick Modiano. She edited "Trauma at Home: After 9/11" in 2003, a collection of essays by writers, psychologists, photographers and academics both in New York and around the world as they responded to the attacks within months of 9/11.

Her current book project, "Cypora's Echo," is an "intergenerational memoir" that explores how we pass on family stories, particularly traumatic ones. At its center is the story of two cousins, Cypora and her 11 month old baby Rachel, who fled a Polish ghetto in 1942. Cypora wrote a diary bearing witness to the horrors surrounding her and both Cypora's diary and her daughter Rachel survived the war, following incredible paths. "Cypora's Echo" charts the journey Judith Greenberg followed to learn more about Cypora, Rachel, and the brave Christian women who saved Rachel, learning about herself and her own relationship with her mother in the process.

Entries by Judith Greenberg, Ph.D.

Inappropriate Is the New Black(list)

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2015 | 10:51 AM

My husband and daughter first alerted me to how I was using the word. I was assigning it moral connotations. I turned "inappropriate" into a gentle but effective means of correction. "It's inappropriate to wear such short shorts to school." "It's inappropriate to open the refrigerator in someone else's home...

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Je Suis Charlie

(1) Comments | Posted January 7, 2015 | 6:32 PM

What do we do with words now?

There's no way to bring back the dead. Twelve people at Charlie Hebdo were killed today for standing up for the right to speak about -- and even dare to laugh at -- the world in which we live.

"Sans voix...

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A Son's Photograph

(1) Comments | Posted November 26, 2014 | 10:00 AM

"I want to tell you something," a woman waiting for her coffee at the bar next to our window seat at Starbucks said.

I popped in to say hi to two friends who were sitting by the widow. From a friendly morning hello, an impassioned and outraged conversation grew about...

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The Face of the Other

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 4:20 PM

Who isn't yearning for a precious week in the summer at a cabin in the woods, off-line with a lake, a book and a Pendleton blanket? Heck, who doesn't have a shred of nostalgia for the simple pause of looking into another's eyes instead of finding heads turned to iPhones...

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Because I Can

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 7:44 PM

"At least you can run," I offered. One of my kids' middle school teachers was lamenting how middle age has slowed her pace. She awakens at dawn, runs from lower to upper Manhattan every morning, teaches middle schoolers math and science all day, supervises after-school and running club, and then...

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(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2014 | 5:55 PM

Today is Yom HaShoah: Remembrance of the Holocaust Day. The fifteenth of Nissan on the Hebrew calendar is the day designated to commemorate the anniversary of the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. I want to think about how we can continue to bring the significance of this...

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What Dreams May Come, or Feelin' Drowsy

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 3:46 PM

Last night, a student told me about The Huffington Post's nap rooms. No, I'm not recounting a bizarre dream. The class is called "Writing the Present Day Self," and the student was explaining that Arianna Huffington allows her employees to nap during work. Apparently, HuffPost employees can recoup, refresh and...

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Spring Eavesdropping

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2014 | 6:26 PM

Welcome, first day of spring and International Happiness Day! But what's with your impermanence, as the East Coast weather forecast for next week indicates? We weary winter survivors are placed in a game of temptation and retreat resembling Dangerous Liaisons and the dramas of eighteenth century seduction novels.

We had...

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New Year's Tar Pits

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 4:16 PM

The end of 2013 hit me hard. Shortly before Christmas, my husband and I felt like boxers pummeled in a ring, and not from any blows from one another. We soldiered on, committed to entertaining our kids during our preplanned trip to Los Angeles. One day we visited the Page...

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Nelson Mandela, Forgiveness and Brothers and Sisters

(1) Comments | Posted December 9, 2013 | 8:01 PM

How did he do it? How did he see stars instead of bars while in prison? Apartheid, suffering, and twenty-seven years of imprisonment did not stop him from leading a nation through a process of truth and reconciliation. Among the myriad of aspects of Nelson Mandela's life and legacy that...

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"Thanksgivukkah? Thankukah?": Love it or Hate it?

(1) Comments | Posted November 22, 2013 | 5:08 PM

Thanksgiving falls on the second night of Hanukkah this year. Some calculate this as first convergence in a thousand years; others are more modest about the rarity of the overlap. (Chabad offers a thorough accounting here).

This intersection of lunar and solar calendars and of religious and...

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The Real Revolution

(3) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 2:53 PM

Last month a video circulated on the Internet that considered refusing to vote to be some form of revolutionary engagement. On an election day, I urge you to consider the consequences of such inaction.

During an interview with Jeremy Paxman of the BBC's Newsnight, comedian and actor Russell Brand put...

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The Times They Are a Changin'

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2013 | 9:05 AM

I'm coming to this realization late. I've heard the complaints for decades - the paper "of record" is biased. No one claimed that The New York Times was empty and ridiculous like Fox "news." But, here and there, smart people would pipe up about the Times' limited or biased coverage,...

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Last Gasp

(1) Comments | Posted September 3, 2013 | 11:47 AM

The rest of us are grabbing the last gasps of summer. My husband takes my kids to a water park for one final splash. I scramble to finish my chunky novel (only during summer do I, a literature teacher, actually carve out the delicious time to disappear into novels). The...

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Educating the Youngest New Yorkers: It's Political and Personal

(3) Comments | Posted August 14, 2013 | 3:46 PM

I'd like to revisit the important feminist insight that the personal is political.

In the age of Facebook, the personal and the political now intersect in the virtual identities or personal pages we create.

For instance, interspersed with photos of my kids playing on the beach and of my...

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Reuniting with the Golden Girl

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2013 | 1:35 PM

How is it that she is the only one glowing under a shaft of sunlight? At least fifty classmates squeeze together in the photo of a group of alumni gathered in front of Dartmouth Hall for our 25th college reunion. Only she pops out as illuminated by some special ray...

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It's Time to Start Livin'

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 12:30 PM

Pippin won the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. That came as no surprise to me. Participating in that musical -- because attending it is truly a matter of participation and not just observation -- awakened me. I haven't stopped singing its songs since my daughter, friends, and I saw...

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Sibling Day

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2013 | 11:13 AM

I missed National Sibling Day. When was this holiday created? Are we soon to start sending "Happy Sibling Day" cards to one another?

I learned, belatedly, that April 10 was declared National Sibling Day through Facebook. Adorable images in yellowed tones of friends as youngsters with their siblings sprinkled through...

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Liberty and Looking

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2013 | 2:15 PM

After a long spell of cold weather, the "cruelest month" is finally showing its friendlier side. To celebrate, I donned new navy and white pants (on sale at J. Crew) covered in a floral print by Liberty of London. My legs look like a spring garden. "Only you could wear...

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The 'Do You Know?' Test

(1) Comments | Posted March 23, 2013 | 1:46 PM

Do you know where your parents met? The story of your birth? Can you recite a tale of suffering from you ancestral archives? It turns out that possessing those answers may help you develop resilience. A recent New York Times article proposes that knowing family stories helps people,...

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