Embracing the Stranger: Intermarriage and the Future of the American Jewish Community
Does intermarriage necessarily spell the end of an individual’s Jewish life — and the end of the Jewish community? Ellen, who at the time she began her research (but not by the time she finished) was a committed Jew who had married a non-Jew, argues that it does not. Exploding a number of myths about intermarriage and the intermarried, she challenges the misuse of statistics to read all too many people out of Jewish life. She contends that while intermarriage overall may pose a threat to Jewish continuity, not every intermarriage is part of that threat. Embracing the Stranger (published under Ellen’s former name, Ellen Jaffe McClain) combines hard data, anecdotes, and interviews with personal reminiscence and cultural commentary to produce an eye-opening account of why Jews marry non-Jews, and what concerned Jews — as a community and as individuals — can be doing about it. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ “Easily the most eloquent, impactive, and therapeutic treatment ever written about Jewry's sacred bogeyman. . . . [This] warm, wise, funny, and provocative book is must reading for all who work for a Jewish future.” — Kirkus Reviews ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Rabbis praise Embracing the Stranger: " . . a wise, eloquent, and compelling picture of American Judaism. [McClain] has put together insight, vivid learning, and uncommon good sense in the best account I know of what has gone wrong, but what can be made right, in American Judaism. She writes about love with love.” —Rabbi Jacob Neusner
“An informed and passionate plea for an ethic of inclusiveness. The book is written from inside, an honest testimony of the need to recognize the stranger in our midst.” —Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, author of For Those Who Can't Believe
“A unique and fresh look at the phenomenon of interfaith marriage that will shed much-needed light on the complex foundations of interfaith relationships. [The author] challenges us to take a good, hard look at the true underlying sources of interfaith marriage, and provides the tools with which to do it.” — Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, author of Children of Character and But How Will You Raise the Children?