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Double or Nothing? Sylvia Barack Fishman

Double or Nothing? By Sylvia Barack Fishman

Double or Nothing? by Sylvia Barack Fishman

Condition - Good
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A lively and accessible look at Jewish intermarriage and its familial and cultural effects.

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Double or Nothing? Summary

Double or Nothing? by Sylvia Barack Fishman

Some observers believe America's promises are dramatically fulfilled by marriage across boundaries. Following their hearts rather than familial and communal preferences, intermarried couples illustrate the triumph of such Romantic values as the sanctity of the individual and the sacredness of personal passions. Intermarriages are also touted as emblems of increased tolerance. If intermarriage is a blessing, American Jews are among the prime beneficiaries. Recent statistical studies show that about half of all recent marriages involving a Jew have been to non-Jews. Many of these Jews maintain at least some ties to their own ethnoreligious heritage. At the same time, very few of the non-Jews marrying Jewish men and women today convert to Judaism. The same cultural tolerance that nurtures mixed marriage also promotes the idea that each partner can maintain his or her own distinctive, premarriage identity. Thus, the homes they form include two religious identities, and, often, two or more ethnic identities. The American Jewish resistance to intermarriage held by earlier generations has given way to the view that intermarriage is normative in the American milieu. But what is the impact of mixed marriage on Jews and Judaism? Concerned that intermarriage may weaken American Jewish vitality, many wonder: Will the blessing of American openness cause Jewish culture to be virtually loved out of existence in twenty-first-century America? This provocative question frames Fishman's study. Drawing on more than 250 original interviews with mixed-married men and women, focus group discussions with their teenaged children, materials produced by communal, secular, and religious organizations, and conferences, books, and films created by and for interfaith audiences, Fishman examines family dynamics in mixed-married households. She looks at the responses of Jewish and non-Jewish family and friends. She investigates how theDecember dilemma plays itself out in diverse mixed Jewish households and explores popular cultural depictions of mixed marriages in fiction, film, television, and in material artifacts such as the Mixed Message Greeting Card Company. Fishman concludes with a look at Jewish communal responses from rabbis, schools, and synagogues, and the Jewish community to the potential demographic crisis resulting from mixed marriages. While understanding and accepting the cultural imperatives that have produced high intermarriage rates, Fishman emphasizes the key role of education in creating Jews who seek to remain affiliated. As one reviewer points out, her book offers awell-thought-out response to a problem that has generated more hysteria than reasoned analysis.

Double or Nothing? Reviews

Fishman... employs the social scientist's eye to explore family dynamics in order to illuminate the larger social and psychological dimensions of mixed marriages... Fishman's research reaches beyond the topic of mixed marriage to describe the complexion of American life in general, its perceptions, strengths and stereotypes. - Publishers Weekly; Whereas previous studies have focused on numbers... [Fishman] brings the carefully researched stories of 254 mixed-married, intermarried and converted adults... In the process, she ends up describing an enormous hybrid sub-culture of North American Judeo-Christian families that differs 'strikingly' from all other American Jews... [An] insightful book. - Jerusalem Post; What, another book on intermarriage? Yes, and this one is a must-read... Fishman provides a nuanced view of the processes through which families negotiate their 'ethno-religious identity.' - Jewish Book World; The book intersperses comments from the respondents into the text, which makes for interesting, accessible reading and also humanizes these much-discussed issues. Fishman also shows how interfaith families are depicted in American literature, film and popular culture and looks at the issue of intermarriage in Jewish societies historically. - New York Jewish Week

About Sylvia Barack Fishman

Sylvia Barack Fishman directs the program in Contemporary Jewish Life in the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Department at Brandeis University, where she is a professor. She is co-director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. Her most recent book is Jewish Life and American Culture (2000).

Additional information

Double or Nothing? by Sylvia Barack Fishman
Used - Good
Brandeis University Press
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

Customer Reviews - Double or Nothing?