Abstract

By the 1960s, sociology had risen to a place of prominence in American-Jewish life. No topic brought American Jews into contact with sociologists more than that of intermarriage. Far from simply communicating empirical realities, sociologists sculpted ideologies about family, religion, and citizenship. Over the first half of the twentieth century, sociological thought shifted from defining Jewish outmarriage as a step toward creating a true melting pot to defending inmarriage as crucial to the ideals of democracy and social stability. When commentators and Jewish leaders declared an intermarriage crisis in the mid-1960s, they relied on sociological models to anchor their pronouncements. Yet in treating sociology as a source of unbiased information, Jewish leaders often concealed their own commitments and deeply felt belief systems. Ironically, sociology emerged as one of the most prescriptive forces in Jewish life, even as it was assumed to offer mere description of Jewish patterns.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2028
Print ISSN
0021-6704
Pages
pp. 32-60
Launched on MUSE
2008-07-25
Open Access
No
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