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(1994). Dr. Goodnick Replies:. Am. J. Psychoanal., 54(4):373-374.

(1994). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 54(4):373-374

Dr. Goodnick Replies:

With all due respect, Rabbi Judith Lewis seems to bear an animus toward traditional Judaism and place on others the onus for its existence. Not knowing her background, the extent of her faith, or her experience with the therapy she recommends for her congregants, I am at a loss to account for her aversion to orthodoxy. Might it be because tradition does not accept female rabbis? It may surprise Lewis that, in this respect, Freud accepted the traditional view: he did not believe in egalitarianism for women.

I am hard-put to find any meaningful relevance between her remarks and my presentation, which, it appears, she read cursorily; a thorough reading may be in order. As mentioned in the paper, while we have indirect knowledge of the likely Jewish training of Jacob Freud's sons, varying opinions remain. Thus, a fact, a piece of prima-facie evidence, is worth a thousand surmises.

Yet, some clarifications may be in order—to avoid misunderstandings. Of Jacob Freud's sons, Sigmund denied having had a “classical Jewish education,” but wrote of involvement in home Jewish practices, evidently of an “orthodox” nature. In support of the above, we noted that the two oldest sons, who emigrated to England, became pillars of an orthodox synagogue in Manchester, where they settled. Of Alexander, so far we have had no knowledge.

Lewis's effort to trivialize Jacob Freud's birthday note suggests another denigration of orthodoxy. What she presumes her father might have written is one thing; what Jacob Freud actually intended may have been quite another, though admittedly Jacob wrote well and made use of metaphor. Previous attempts to secularize Jacob Freud (e.g., Bergmann, 1976) have carried limited credibility. Indeed, a careful reading of Yerushalmi (1991) and Rice (1990) reinforce the reality and strength of Jacob Freud's traditional outlooks. In all humility, I might suggest a reading of my article (Goodnick, 1992). May I add the obvious: anyone having a “traditional Jewish education” need not necessarily turn out to be a secularist—particularly over a hundred years ago.

Sigmund Freud's relationship with Judaism is not as simple or simplistic as Lewis makes it appear.

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