Still Jew­ish: A His­to­ry of Women and Inter­mar­riage in America

Keren R. McGinity
  • Review
By – September 19, 2011

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.

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