I was interviewed this evening by a woman doing a project on the children of Holocaust survivors. She was a doing a qualitative survey for a class in Tucson, Arizona. She found my name from a local report on my daughter Emily, who was injured at a demonstration in the West Bank to protest the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla in late May.
The interviewer used the term "G2" to describe my generation. This sounds vaguely Mendelian, or a take on a Himalayan peak. She asked whether there were any advantages to being "G2"- as you can imagine I could not think of any. She also asked if I believed in God, to which I answered in what I feel is a classically Jewish manner, "define God".
One point I did make is that I feel that there was a survival advantage to having a suspicious, pessimistic view of the world, which helps make "G2" not being the happiest bunch of people.
I do feel that "G2" people do have a somewhat special outlook on the world, and that they feel that they have a special obligation to the survivors to honor their survival, through family, work, and the upholding of Jewish ethical ideals.
Al in all, it was an interesting process. I told the story of my parents' journeys through Russia, Uzbekistan, Israel, and the U.S. I also recalled those left behind to die in the camps or of malaria. To think of the Holocaust and its effects on one's family is an embittering process. It puts one in a defensive posture about the world, which is not always helpful or productive. And, as in the case with Israel, it is a limiting and debilitating posture which prevents one from looking past his or her ethnicity and into a more inclusive world view.