The subject of Jewish identity is one of the most vexed and contested issues of modern religious and ethnic group history. This interdisciplinary collection draws on work in law, anthropology, history, sociology, literature, and popular culture to consider contemporary and historical responses to the question, "Who and what is Jewish?"
These essays look at the forces, ranging from new genetic and reproductive technologies to increasingly multicultural societies, that push against established boundaries, examining how definitions of Jewishness have been established, enforced, challenged, and transformed. What makes Boundaries of Jewish Identity distinctive is its attention to the various Jewish "epistemologies" or ways of knowing who counts as a Jew. The essays reveal that answers to that question reflect the different social, intellectual, and political locations of those who are asking.
This book provides an excellent opportunity to examine how Jews fit into an increasingly diverse America and an increasingly complicated global society.
"A provocative and timulating book about a much talked about but surprisingly under-analyzed subject."
David Biale, University of California, Davis
"A wonderfully coherent, superbly edited volume about the incoherence of contemporary Jewish identity. Its lucid, intriguing essays provide a fresh, and at times unsettling, perspective on what it means to be Jewish."---Steven J. Zipperstein, Stanford University