Half/Life: Jew-Ish Tales From Almost, Not Quite, and in-Between

Overview

By turns tragic and funny, religious and heartbreaking, angry and surprisingly familiar, Half/Life represents the altogether diverse memories and reflections of a handful of Half-Jews, among them Thisbe Nissen, Katharine Weber, Jennifer Traig, Jeff Sharlet, and Joyce Maynard. Each of these writers was born into the so-called "dilemma of intermarriage," and each has spent a lifetime grappling with how to define themselves...or not.
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Overview

By turns tragic and funny, religious and heartbreaking, angry and surprisingly familiar, Half/Life represents the altogether diverse memories and reflections of a handful of Half-Jews, among them Thisbe Nissen, Katharine Weber, Jennifer Traig, Jeff Sharlet, and Joyce Maynard. Each of these writers was born into the so-called "dilemma of intermarriage," and each has spent a lifetime grappling with how to define themselves...or not.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This anthology of 18 essays takes for granted that Jews will intermarry, and that the children of intermarriages will be "halfs," or half-Jews. Being a half, says Snyder, is not second best; it is not a pale imitation of being really Jewish. Rather, "half" is an interesting, incorrigible, perplexing and profound moniker in its own right, a label that somehow captures the existential angst that all people experience. Read cover to cover, the anthology begins to feel suffocating in its predictability-smart folks reflecting smartly about their struggles with identity. But many of the individual essays are engaging, funny and provocative. Dena Katzen Seidel describes, in a strikingly detached tone, the emotional abuses doled out by her flaky mother, a Christian Scientist. Novelist Thisbe Nissen explains that every New Yorker is a little bit Jewish, while Ren e Kaplan observes that the only deal her mismatched parents ever made and kept was the agreement to raise the kids Jewish. "My half-Jewishness is a memento of that short-lived moment of concord between the two," she muses with a touch of melancholy. Half-Jews will see themselves and their families in this book, and they will laugh, and maybe even cry, while reading. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933368245
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/10/2006
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 1,435,627
  • Product dimensions: 0.46 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
A Question in the Shape of Your Body 9
My Father's Hebrew Name 15
Half Holy, Wholly Half 37
Bury the Knife in Yonkers or Bibbity Bobbity Jew 43
Gifts 53
And Half Again on Sunday 59
Steefola v. Jane Marie 75
A Child's Christmas in New York 83
Another Quaquaversalist Puppycat 87
One is Not a Jew 93
Myself, a Half-Jew Among the Lilies 99
You Must Draw a Long Bead to Shoot a Fish 107
Untitled 119
What to Do If Your Daughter Marries a Jew 125
Glass Houses 135
The Awful Rowing 141
Dost Thou Know Who Made Thee? 149
Stone Steps 159
Language & Vein 169
Contributors 183
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