Page 37 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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I t virtually rests upon the urge to keep intact the Jewish group
and to prevent its disintegration through intermarriage and other
factors. I t is with the survival of the Jewish group that Jewish
opposition to intermarriage is concerned. Anti-Christian preju-
dice plays hardly any role in that opposition. Moreover, opposi-
tion to intermarriage exists not only among Jews; it is to be found
in other groups as well.
The theme of intermarriage involving a form of gentleman’s
agreement in which the Gentile, Joslyn Shanne, and the Jew,
Sidney Varrich, decide to throw over their respective family
prejudice and faith in order to marry, dominates
Not quite a
, an apparently autobiographical novel by Kathleen Hughes
(N. Y., Doubleday, ’48). The pair in the story are from the Mid-
west, and the Jewish suitor is fifteen years older than the girl he
ultimately marries. Her understanding of Sidney’s complex
intelligence suggests that her mind complements his. Yet her
flat, commonplace, anti-Semitic fears have the ring of true medioc-
rity. I t has all the ear-marks of being another self-exculpatory
intermarriage novel without any extraordinary merit. It is the
familiar tale of determined love versus savage family opposition
but quite competently written.
Whether or not anti-Semitism is on the decline in this country
is a matter upon which no reliable evidence is available. Those
who are concerned with counteracting its effect have thus far not
been able to diagnose it satisfactorily, still less to overcome it.
Though the number of books dealing with anti-Semitism published
in this country during the year is not as large as in some previous
years, the subject does seem to hold the attention of gifted writers.
Flagrant exhibition of this ugly social blot has in recent years
challenged serious writers, if not to investigate the causes, at least
to describe the miasmal situation from where they sit. Such an
effort has been made by several contributors to the first volume
Psychoanalysis and the social sciences
, edited by Geza Roheim
and Gertrud M. Kurth (N. Y., International Universities Press,
’47) which includes among other pertinent studies an essay on
“The historical and cultural roots of anti-Semitism” by R. M.
Lowenstein. But it is not enough to recognize the revolting
symptoms of racial intolerance. The scholar must probe deeply
into the roots of the malady and, if at all possible, indicate the
remedy required. In
A maskfor privilege-,
anti-Semitism in America
by Carey McWilliams (Boston, Little, Brown, ’48) an attempt