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Social Science

Intermarriage and Conversion in the United States

In this article “intermarriage” refers to the marriage of a Jew to a non-Jew who does not convert to Judaism. The terms “interfaith marriage” and “mixed marriage” will be used interchangeably with “intermarriage.” In sociological terms, marrying within one’s ethnic or religious group is called endogamy, while marrying outside is exogamy.

Holocaust Studies in the United States

Holocaust studies is a dynamic and diverse field of research that embraces various approaches toward the study of the Holocaust. Jewish American women have made critical contributions to this field in a variety of areas, including general history, women and gender, children, literary criticism, autobiography and biography, curriculum development, religious studies, sociology, psychoanalytic theory, biomedical ethics, and archive and museum curatorship. Jewish American women have contributed original research and have reshaped the way the Holocaust is studied through innovative theoretical and methodological approaches. They come to the study of the Holocaust as Jews, as women, and as Americans. With each of these roles and experiences they bring different concerns and questions. Some of these scholars are survivors or refugees or are the daughters of survivors or refugees. Some were born in the United States, some came to the United States during or after the war. Many have focused exclusively on the study of women.

Historians in the United States

American Jewish women have been prominent within the historical profession. Indeed, many have been on the cutting edge of historical scholarship since the 1960s. In particular, Jewish women were at the forefront of developments within social history and in the creation of women’s history. While women generally, and Jewish women in particular, rarely made careers as historians in the first half of the twentieth century, Jewish women represented a significant proportion of academic historians both in American and European history as discrimination against Jews and prejudice against women lessened in the decades after World War II. Perhaps because of their sensitivity to the situation of powerless groups, most of them focused their attention not on traditional power elites but rather on those social groups traditionally ignored by academic historians: ordinary people, workers, peasants, minority groups, Jews, and especially women. They helped create, and were influenced by, new trends in historical scholarship that favored the study of such groups.

Beth Bowman Hess

A feminist sociologist and gerontologist whose leadership, scholarship, teaching, service and mentoring were a model for many women, Beth Bowman Hess was born on September 13, 1928, in Buffalo, N.Y., the daughter of Yetta Lurie Bowman, who died in 2005 at the age of 103, and Albert Bowman. Her mother was a 1923 graduate of Ohio State University. Beth Bowman grew up in Buffalo and graduated from Radcliffe College with a B.A. in 1950. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from Rutgers University in 1971. She was Professor of Sociology at the County College of Morris from 1969 to 1997. While she had no illusions about the status of this position in the elitist hierarchy of academia, she valued her students and the opportunities to combine her teaching with her family life.

Ellen Phyllis Hellmann

Dr. Ellen Hellmann has devoted her life to South Africa and all its peoples. Her services to Africans are recognized and appreciated in South Africa and internationally; her devotion to public duty is amazing. She is an outstanding authority on race relations and is in the forefront in the battle for African advancement.

Ruth Gruber

Ruth Gruber was born on September 30, 1911, in Brooklyn, the fourth of five children of David and Gussie (Rockower) Gruber, Russian Jewish immigrants who owned a wholesale and retail liquor store and later went into real estate. She graduated from New York University at age eighteen and in 1930 won a fellowship to the University of Wisconsin, where she received her M.A. in German and English literature. In 1931, Gruber received a fellowship from the Institute of International Education for study in Cologne, Germany. Her parents pleaded with her not to go: Hitler was coming to power. Nevertheless, she went to Cologne and took courses in German philosophy, modern English literature, and art history. She also attended Nazi rallies, her American passport in her purse, a tiny American flag on her lapel. She listened, appalled, as Hitler ranted hysterically against Americans and even more hysterically against Jews.

Esther Schiff Goldfrank

Although she never received a degree in anthropology, Esther Schiff Goldfrank made significant contributions to Pueblo studies.

Eleanor Glueck

For half a century, Eleanor Glueck worked with her husband, Sheldon, professor of criminology at Harvard Law School, producing basic longitudinal studies of juvenile delinquency and adult crime.

Sara Rivka Feder-Keyfitz

Sara Feder-Keyfitz was a Zionist leader, an accomplished sociologist, an outstanding educator, and an ardent feminist who worked hard on behalf of women’s rights in America and Palestine. An important leader in the American Labor Zionist movement, she became a lifelong leader of Pioneer Women (the forerunner of Na’amat U.S.A.) in the United States, Canada, and Israel.

Ruth Lewis Farkas

The impressive and full life of Ruth Lewis Farkas spanned many occupations: educator, sociologist, businesswoman, philanthropist, inventor, wife, and mother. She was born on December 20, 1906, and raised in Manhattan, the fourth of Samuel Lewis and Jennie Bach’s five children. Farkas’s parents were in the real estate business, but Jennie Lewis also worked with the poor of Manhattan and occasionally allowed her young daughter to accompany her into tenements. She gave Ruth this advice: “No matter what your station in life, always try to contribute to those less fortunate.”

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Social Science." (Viewed on December 19, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/social-science>.

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