Love, Mar­riage, and Jew­ish Families

Sylvia Barack Fishman
  • From the Publisher
January 4, 2017

The con­cepts of gen­der, love, and fam­i­ly — as well as the per­son­al choic­es regard­ing gen­der-role con­struc­tion, sex­u­al and roman­tic liaisons, and fam­i­ly for­ma­tion — have become more flu­id under a soci­ety-wide soft­en­ing of bound­aries, hier­ar­chies, and protocols.

Sylvia Barack Fish­man gath­ers the work of social his­to­ri­ans and legal schol­ars who study trans­for­ma­tions in the inti­mate realms of part­ner­ing and fam­i­ly con­struc­tion among Jews. Fol­low­ing a sub­stan­tive intro­duc­tion, the vol­ume casts a broad net. Chap­ters explore the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in both the Unit­ed States and Israel, attend­ing to what once were con­sid­ered uncon­ven­tion­al house­hold arrange­ments — includ­ing extend­ed sin­gle­hood, cohab­i­tat­ing cou­ples, sin­gle Jew­ish moth­ers, and GLBTQ fam­i­lies — along with the legal ram­i­fi­ca­tions and reli­gious back­lash. Togeth­er, these essays demon­strate how changes in the under­stand­ing of male and female roles and expec­ta­tions over the past few decades have con­tributed to a social rev­o­lu­tion with pro­found — and para­dox­i­cal — effects on part­ner­ing, mar­riage, and fam­i­ly formation. 

This diverse anthol­o­gy — with chap­ters focus­ing on demog­ra­phy, ethnog­ra­phy, and legal texts — will inter­est schol­ars and stu­dents in Jew­ish stud­ies, women’s and gen­der stud­ies, Israel stud­ies, and Amer­i­can Jew­ish his­to­ry, soci­ol­o­gy, and culture.

Discussion Questions