The Half-Jewish Book: A Celebration
It’s happening fast: The population of half-Jews in America is well on its way to surpassing the population of full Jews. And with this population shift has come a revolutionary transformation of what it means to be half-Jewish. Sure, some people say that you are either Jewish or not, that there’s nothing in between – but the authors emphatically disagree. They say half-Jews are a unique subculture of people who draw from both sides of their heritage and synthesize their cultural halves into a remarkable new identity.
The Half-Jewish Book celebrates this unique identity that until now has been ignored, maligned, and misunderstood. There’s half-Jewish humor. Half-Jewish/half-Catholic Bill Maher: “I come from a mixed religious background – when I went to confession, I brought a lawyer with me.” And there’s half-Jewish beauty – Gwyneth Paltrow, Joan Collins, and Jane Seymour, just for starters. There are half-Jewish writers (Proust, Salinger), and half-Jewish characters in fiction by authors ranging from Philip Roth to Salman Rushdie. There’s even that half-Jewish cartoon phenomenon Tommy Pickles, in Rugrats. There are half-Jewish politicians – Fiorello La Guar-dia, Barry Goldwater, Dianne Feinstein. And there are the extraordinary number of people, like General Wesley Clark, who discovered as adults that they were half-Jewish and then embraced their newfound double heritage.
This book includes an eye-opening essay on half-Jewish identity and looks into the often misunderstood history of half-Jews in the Holocaust. There are original interviews with half-Jews, as well as holiday cards and menus, poetry and song lyrics, and paintings and photographs. Intelligent, exuberant, entertaining, and thought-provoking, The Half-Jewish Book is a fascinating celebration of a cultural mix that is far greater than the sum of its parts.