Why Jewish Women Marry Out

By Weisberg, Jennifer | Moment, March-April 2009 | Go to article overview

Why Jewish Women Marry Out


Weisberg, Jennifer, Moment


Still Jewish: A History of Women and Intermarriage in America

By Keren McGinity

NYU Press

2009, $39.00, pp. 307

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In the early 1970s, as connections to its immigrant past were waning, the Jewish American community faced a dilemma. Jews were enjoying an increasingly comfortable position in American society, but declining synagogue attendance and sharply rising rates of intermarriage sparked concern about the future of Jewry.

With these fears in mind, a 1973 New York Times article reported on a seminar on "The Role of Jewish Women in Strengthening the Jewish Family." Assuming the centrality of the family to preserving Judaism, seminar participants agreed that Jewish women were "the fixative that binds the core together." Their view was that the family was threatened by lower birth rates, higher levels of divorce and intermarriage rates that had climbed from six percent in 1965 to almost 32 percent by 1970.

What had changed among Jews and in American culture? In an otherwise increasingly confident Jewish community, what did intermarriage signify? These are the central questions of Keren McGinity's Still Jewish. Using historical sources and interviews with 46 women--educated, middle class, liberal--in the greater Boston area, McGinity, a postdoctoral fellow at University of Michigan's Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and an intermarried Jew herself, parses the nuances of why Jewish women have married out of the fold and the meaning of Jewish identity today. She also details how the mass media and major Jewish religious disciplines portrayed intermarriage as dangerous--and how that initially uncompromising view changed.

Still Jewish divides the 20th century into three eras (1900-1930, 1930-1960 and 1960-2000) that encapsulate the shifting patterns of Jewish assimilation. Initially an insular population, with an intermarriage rate of only two percent, only one out of two Jews married other Jews by the end of the 20th century. Freed from the confines of Eastern European Jewish life, American Jews looked less to Deuteronomy 7:1-3 ("You shall not intermarry with them: do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters away for your sons") and more toward a secular, pluralistic notion of marriage.

McGinity first explores the early 20th century marriages of writers Mary Antin and Rose Pastor and political activist Anna Strunsky, who "reveled in American ideals of freedom of choice" and married gentile husbands with whom they shared strong intellectual and political principles. It was not just these women's prominence that made their marriages so different. Religious authorities publicly disapproved of their marriages as far beyond Jewish tradition. Both the Orthodox and Conservative rabbinate condemned intermarriage outright. And although some Reform rabbis suggested that the movement should consider welcoming interfaith couples, in 1947 the Central Conference of American Rabbis reaffirmed its opposition to intermarriage. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Why Jewish Women Marry Out
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.