Page 95 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

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EPSTEIN/CONVERSION TO JUDAISM
87
much valuable teaching advice. The author of this article is cur­
rently writing a curricular guide that will be published by the
Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education as well as
a guidebook for converts to be published by Jason Aronson.
Much of the literature of conversion is intertwined with the
literature of intermarriage because the two so often go together.
Two of the groundbreaking books in this area are
Intermarriage
and Jewish Life: A Symposium
edited by Werner J. Cahnman (New
York: Herzl Press and Jewish Reconstructionist Press, 1963) and
Jews and Intermarriage: A Study in Personality and Culture
by Louis
A. Berman (New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1968). As the inter­
marriage rates have increased, the literature on the subject has
proliferated. The most important recent demographic study
with significant information about intermarriage and conver­
sion is summarized in
Highlights of the CJF 1990 National Jewish
Population Survey
(New York: Council of Jewish Federations,
1991). The Survey claimed there are 185,000 Jews By Choice
(70% of whom have formally converted to Judaism and 30%
of whom practice Judaism but have not been formally convert­
ed).
There are some books about intermarriage with useful advice
about conversion, but many of these books are guides to an
intermarriage without conversion, that is, essentially advice
books on dealing with the inherent problems of intermarriage.
The focus in such books is on helping the couple be comfortable
with their marriage rather than on Jewish communal matters.
By far the most interesting of the books on intermarriage
is
Mixed Blessings: Marriage between Jews and Christians
by Paul
Cowan with Rachel Cowan (New York: Doubleday, 1987). The
book’s original analysis of what the authors call emotional “time
bombs” that can explode during an intermarriage is incisively
presented. Two other books on intermarriage are also useful
from a Jewish perspective. They are Egon Mayer’s
Love
fc?
Tra­
dition: Marriage Between Jews & Christians
(New York: Plenum,
1985), and Susan Weidman Schneider’s
Intermarriage: The Chal­
lenge of Living With Differences Between Christians and Jews
(New
York: Free Press, 1989).