The Half-Jewish Book: A Celebration

The Half-Jewish Book: A Celebration

by Daniel M. Klein, Freke Vuijst
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The Half-Jewish Book: A Celebration by Daniel M. Klein, Freke Vuijst

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, aswell 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.

The premise of The Half-Jewish Book is simple if somewhat controversial: Being half-Jewish is a quality unto itself, sui generis. Half-Jewishness is a cultural, intellectual, and aesthetic mix that is, in a variety of ways, greater than the sum of its parts.
        To take this position—and to revel in the celebration that follows from it—we stand in clear opposition to those who insist: "You are either Jewish or you are not; there's nothing in between." And we compound this blasphemy by suggesting that there is something unique, remarkable, and downright dazzling about the half-Jewish mind and the half-Jewish face, about the art and wit created by half-Jewish sensibilities, and in the ethical, literary, and political ideas produced from the half-Jewish perspective.
        Enough already about the "half-Jewish problem" as the tragic product of intermarriage. It is time to explore the unique and fascinating world of the half-Jew.
—from the Introduction

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375503856
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/19/2000
Pages: 305
Product dimensions: 5.81(w) x 8.57(h) x 1.13(d)

About the Author

Daniel Klein, a graduate of Harvard, has written five novels and two humor books and cowritten or ghost-written twelve nonfiction books. Freke Vuijst is an American correspondent for Dutch television; her documentaries on American youth culture are seen on PBS. They live in Great Barrington, Massachu-setts, where they raised their half-Jewish daughter.

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The Half-Jewish Book 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Are you jewish or not? Well, ummm .... my dad's jewish and my mom kind of converted, but .... ---- The author of this book remarkably presents his theories in a way that has you thinking, 'Wow, I could have written this book! This is me!' If you are an individual who has lit both the candles and the christmas tree, this book will absolutely be of relevence to you. With applications from the average ordinary half-jew to today's pop culture icons, it is impossible to read this book and to not learn more about yourself in subject matters such as your family, your friends, your social life, your spirituality, and much much more. Also, it would do the author an injustice to not include how much this book will inspire its readers. A must read for all pizza-bagels and the like.