Most research on intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews focuses on the United States. This volume takes a path-breaking approach, examining countries with smaller Jewish populations so as to better understand countries with larger Jewish populations. It focuses on intermarriage in Great Britain, France, Scandinavia, the Soviet Union, Mexico, Venezuela, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Argentina and Curacao, then applies the findings to the United States. In earlier centuries such a volume might have yielded much different conclusions. Then Jews lived in more countries, intermarriage was not as prevalent, and social science had little to contribute. Before World War II, the Jewish population was dispersed much differently, and it continues to shift around the world because of both push and pull factors. Like demography, intermarriage is a dynamic process. What is true today was probably not true in the past, nor will it be true tomorrow. The contributors to this volume locate new forms of Jewish family life - single parents, gay/lesbian parents, adults without children, and couples with multiple backgrounds.
These multiple family forms raise a new question - what is a Jewish family - as well as a variety of related issues. Do women and men have different roles in intermarriage? Does a family need two people to raise children? Should there be patrilineal descent? Where do adoption, single parenting, lesbian and gay identities, and more, fit into the picture? Broadly, what role does the family play in transmitting a group's culture from generation to generation? This volume presents a portrait of Jewish demography in the twenty-first century, brilliantly interweaving global processes with significant local variations.