Jewasian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America's Newest Jews

Jewasian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America's Newest Jews

Jewasian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America's Newest Jews

Jewasian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America's Newest Jews

Synopsis

In 2010 approximately 15 percent of all new marriages in the United States were between spouses of different racial, ethnic, or religious backgrounds, raising increasingly relevant questions regarding the multicultural identities of new spouses and their offspring. But while new census categories and a growing body of statistics provide data, they tell us little about the inner workings of day-to-day life for such couples and their children.
JewAsian is a qualitative examination of the intersection of race,religion, and ethnicity in the increasing number of household that are Jewish American and Asian American. Helen Kiyong Kim and Noah Samuel Leavitt's book discloses the larger social dimensions of intermarriages to explain how these particular unions reflect not only the identity of married individuals but also the communities to which they belong. Using in-depth interviews with couples and the children of Jewish American and Asian American marriages, Kimand Leavitt's research sheds much-needed light on the everyday lives of these partnerships and how their children negotiate their own identities in the twenty-first century.

Excerpt

We first met each other in early February 1997, on a blisteringly cold Hyde Park evening, at a dinner hosted by one of our mutual friends. We were both graduate students in the same M.A. program at the University of Chicago but had not yet met each other. Our friend’s party came as a warm and welcome respite from the intensity of our studies and the throes of our own research projects — an opportunity to be amongst peers and friends sharing wonderful food, drink, and conversation.

However, one of us was not so enchanted by the other during that first encounter. the often told story goes that Helen was in the midst of putting the final touches on a complicated and time-intensive dessert when Noah walked into the kitchen and made a flippant comment that was not to Helen’s liking, so much so that she ignored any of Noah’s subsequent attempts to make conversation over the course of the evening. Ours is not an affair predicated on love at first sight (at least for one of us).

After parting ways, Noah’s persistence to convince Helen to spend time with him began and continued in a less snarky manner over the course of the following three weeks. His tenacity paid off and we eventually went out for dinner and drinks. Quite unexpectedly, we bonded over the recent and sudden deaths of fathers, whom we were close to and missed terribly. in that moment and in many to follow, we were two individuals . . .

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