Marriage

Content type
Collection

Jewish Women and Intermarriage in the United States

Marriages between Jews and people of other faiths have long fascinated scholars, clergy, and communal leaders, who often considered the choice of a Jewish spouse as an indication of the strength of ethnoreligious identity and commitment to perpetuating Judaism and the Jewish people. However, many Jewish women who intermarry in the United States continue to identify Jewishly, engage in the Jewish community, and raise Jewish children.

This entry uses gender as category of analysis and change over time to illuminate the experience and meaning of interfaith marriage for Jewish women in America. It describes how women navigated their ethnoreligious identities when they married Gentile men, the influences of feminism, the rise of ethnic consciousness, and parenthood.

Episode 77: Word of the Week: Yenta

How did a popular Yiddish woman's name come to mean gossip and busybody? In the first of our new Word of the Week mini-series, we trace the evolution of the word yenta. Producer Jen Richler talks with Fiddler on the Roof scholar Jan Lisa Huttner, comedian Judy Gold, author Lizzie Skurnick, and Tik Tok star and Torah commentator Miriam Anzovin. And in a special cameo...Yente the Matchmaker herself!

Helène Aylon

Helene Aylon was an American, New York-based, multimedia visual artist who began by creating process art in the 1970s, focused on anti-nuclear and eco-activist art by the 1980s, and subsequently devoted more than 35 years to the multi-partite installation The G-d Project. This last body of work’s often direct or indirect textuality resonates from and responds to Judaism’s traditionally male-dominated textuality as part of a larger commentary on women in Judaism.

Collage of two faces with Star of David and Muslim star and crescent

I’m Jewish. My Partner is Muslim. Here’s How We Make It Work.

Zia Saylor

Celebrating our differences has brought my partner and me closer—but it hasn’t always been easy.

Photo of writer's grandmother as a child on left; grandmother and writer on right

My Jewish Grandma’s Christmas Pierogis

Marissa Wojcik

With each handcrafted pierogi, my grandma honors her husband's traditions while holding on to her strong Jewish identity. 

The Intimacy Experiment Book Cover (cropped)

Finally, a Positive, Feminist Jewish Take on Sex

Zia Saylor

This new book offers a sex-positive perspective often lacking in Jewish spaces.

Alix Kates Shulman

Alix Kates Shulman is a radical feminist writer and activist and a leader in the second-wave feminist movement of the 1960s through 1980s.  She is best known as the author of “The Marriage Agreement” (1970) and the best-selling Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen (1972), which was heralded as the “first important novel of the Women’s Liberation movement.” She was honored with a Clara Lemlich Award for a lifetime of social activism in 2018.

Women and Sephardic Music

Ladino or Judeo-Spanish Sephardic songs are primarily a women’s repertoire. The two main traditions are that of northern Morocco and the Eastern Mediterranean, primarily today’s Turkey, Greece, the Balkans.

Judith Sheindlin

For two and half decades, former New York family court Judge Judith Sheindlin has riveted daytime viewers, racked up awards, and sold thousands of books to people hungry for the tough love of a tough Jewish mother. Millions of viewers who watch Judge Judy every day are treated to many Yiddish words and wisdom the jurist uses on a parade of deserving participants who enter her TV studio courtroom.

Sarah Rodrigues Brandon

Sarah Rodrigues Brandon (1798-1828) was born poor, enslaved, and Christian on the island of Barbados. By the time of her death thirty years later she was one of the wealthiest Jews in New York and her family were leaders in Congregation Shearith Israel. This entry explains Sarah’s life journey and highlights how her story relates to that of other women of mixed African and Jewish ancestry in early America.

Louise Glück

Louise Glück, American poet, essayist, and educator, is the recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, as well as numerous other awards for her writing; she also served as poet laureate of the United States from 2003 to 2004. One finds the personal, the mythological, and the Biblical woven intricately throughout Glück’s oeuvre.

Bride and groom lifted in chairs at their wedding

Getting Married during a Pandemic: Interview with 'A Practical Wedding' Founder, Meg Keene

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler

We talk to Meg Keene, owner of 'A Practical Wedding,' about how the pandemic is changing the culture of getting married.

Topics: Marriage
Person signing a document

I Can Be a Jewish Feminist and Change My Name

Rebecca Brenner Graham

Changing your name upon marriage, especially as a Jewish person and a woman, is a loaded decision.

Topics: Marriage

Julie Rezmovic-Tonti, with Jessica Kirzane

Julie Rezmovic-Tonti teaches middle school Jewish history and serves as Outreach Coordinator at Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax, Virginia. She has a BA in Women's Studies from the University of Maryland and an MA in Jewish Studies from Siegal College. She also studied at Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo and the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.  She lives in Fairfax, Virginia, with her husband, three children, typewriter, pottery wheel, and garden.

Chuppah

The Global Value of Peace in the Home

Steph Black

Shalom bayit is the Jewish concept of peace in the home. It refers to the domestic harmony that comes with a solid partnership between spouses. When we work against domestic violence and spousal abuse, we uphold this Jewish value. And when our government turns away asylum seekers fleeing domestic violence, it violates a core Jewish tenet.

White Thin Bridesmaids Stock Photo

Size Matters

Larisa Klebe

“We only carry sizes 1, 3 and 5. You could try Sears.”

We’ve all heard the saying, “it’s funny because it’s true,” and that certainly applies to this iconic quote from the movie Mean Girls. Even though the average woman in the US is a size 16, many clothing stores and companies have decided that if you’re not thin, you don’t deserve fashion

Topics: Feminism, Marriage
Anita Diamant With the Jewish Wedding Now

An Interview with Anita Diamant

Rabbi Leah Berkowitz

The latest edition, The Jewish Wedding Now, came out this month, and I was delighted to interview Diamant after hearing her speak to the Women’s Rabbinic Network at our biennial convention.

Rising Voices Fellow Aliza Abusch-Magder

Radical Feminist Idea: Independent Identity

Aliza Abusch-Magder

Her struggles are relatable, and her story is compelling, giving hope that we too can break free from the patriarchy. By talking about her life with such brutal honesty, Liz Gilbert provides a cautionary tale for women about what happens when we define ourselves by our relationships with men. 

Topics: Feminism, Marriage, Film

Cheryl Moch

Long before gay marriage became a reality, Cheryl Moch dared to dream a gay marriage fairy tale.

Idit Klein

As executive director of Keshet, a non-profit dedicated to creating a welcoming and supportive Jewish community for GLBTQ Jews, Idit Klein built the organization into a national leader in making the Jewish community more inclusive.

Anna F. Solomon

Anna worked side by side with her husband. She ran Solomonville's store and the local hotel, all while raising their six children in a refined and cultured home in the midst of the desert southwest. Anna died in San Diego, California, in her late eighties on May 4, 1933.

Rachel Calof

Rachel first landed in New York. From there, she and Abraham journeyed to join his family already living on homesteads in North Dakota. They arrived in Devil's Lake in 1894. Rachel's memoir highlights her growing regard for her husband and her own struggle in adapting to the difficult conditions in which found herself. The early years were especially difficult—no privacy, extreme financial hardship, minimum fuel and food to get through the harsh winters.

Frieda Piepsch Sondland

A designer of haute couture, Frieda Sondland used her creative skills to survive the Holocaust. Born in Berlin, Germany in 1921, she married Gunther Sondland when she was sixteen and a half years old. When she was seventeen, and pregnant with her first child, Frieda and her parents were forced to leave Germany for South America. Frieda supported herself and her daughter by working as a clothing designer in Montevideo, Uruguay. Eight years later, Gunther joined them. Frieda and Gunther moved to Seattle in 1953 to reunite with Gunther’s family who had emigrated there after the war. In Seattle, Frieda worked in the alterations department for both John Doyle Bishop, and Frederick and Nelson until she and Gunther opened their dry cleaning and alterations business in West Seattle. In 1957, their son, Gordon, was born. Since arriving in the United States, Frieda has become a beloved and active member of Seattle’s Jewish community.

Missode Israel Piha

Born in Tishmay near the Isle of Rhodes, Greece where she was raised, Missode Piha spent her childhood in a tight-knit Sephardic family of which her father was Hazzan [cantor]. In 1928, she met and married her husband, Sam, an American visiting his family in Rhodes, and leaving her family behind, moved to the United States with him. First settling in Atlanta, Georgia, they moved to Seattle in 1932 where they raised four children and Missode became a beloved volunteer and member of Seattle’s Sephardic community and Congregation Ezra Bessaroth. Missode Piha died on October 17, 2003.

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