Once upon a time, women who married “out” were considered lost to the Jewish faith; it was assumed they would follow their husbands into the Christian world, letting go of the Jewish culture and heritage they had been raised to honor, respect, and carry with them into the next generation. McGinity, a research fellow at the University of Michigan, set out to examine these assumptions and see whether they held up under the close scrutiny of a historian. The result is a very readable book, one which takes an academic topic and treats it with care and presence and manages, in a lively way, to unravel the tightly woven tapestry of women and interfaith marriage and expose the facts and feelings at its core.
Through detailed research, McGinity demonstrates, for example, that women who intermarried in the last half of the 20th century were more likely than their counterparts in the earlier years to raise Jewish children. She documents how their Jewish identity followed them into their mixed marriage and provides a sharply defined historical perspective on the relationships that drove them and sustained them. The book is rich in history, and for those who desire more, the extensive notes at the back provide much additional information that supports and elucidates the text. Appendix, notes, selected index.
Linda F. Burghardt is a New York-based journalist and author who has contributed commentary, breaking news, and features to major newspapers across the U.S., in addition to having three non-fiction books published. She writes frequently on Jewish topics and is now serving as Scholar-in-Residence at the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County.