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The Jewish Family

  • Harriet HartmanEmail author
Chapter
Part of the American Jewish Year Book book series (AJYB, volume 116)

Abstract

The family remains central to the continuity of the contemporary American Jewish community. But how the Jewish family is Jewish (and ‘how Jewish’ Jewish families are) varies widely and touches on fundamental assumptions about Jewishness, even as the family shapes the very Jewishness to which it contributes. Today’s Jewish family is faced with important challenges in its effort to fulfill its functions, both traditional and contemporary. Confronted with declining rates of marriage, delayed marriage, low fertility, and interfaith marriage, contemporary family patterns appear to contribute to a shrinking Jewish population. Jewish engagement promotes healthier family-oriented behaviors. Yet some families, marginalized by the mainstream Jewish community, find it difficult to be engaged Jewishly on a communal level, because of their special needs or conditions, such as economic vulnerability, immigrant status, multiracial/cultural diversity, and sexual orientations. Family profiles vary across Jewish communities, adding to difficulties in meeting diverse needs. It is therefore important to understand the American Jewish family today, its dilemmas and challenges, as well as its major sources of diversity. This chapter reviews the research about contemporary American Jewish families and discusses implications of cutting-edge studies for the contemporary Jewish community.

Keywords

Family Denomination Immigration Jewish engagement Disability Economic vulnerability Sexual orientation Fertility Dual-earners Single parents 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyRowan UniversityGlassboroUSA

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