In Jewish Family: Identity and Self-Formation at Home Alex Pomson and Randal F. Schnoor advance a new appreciation for the deep significance of Jewish family in developing Jewish identity. This book is the result of ten years of research focused on a small sample of diverse families. Through their work, the authors paint an intricate picture of the ecosystem that the family unit provides for identity formation over the life course. They draw upon theories of family development as well as sociological theories of the transmission of social and cultural capital in their analysis of the research. They find that family networks, which are often intergenerational, are just as significant as cultural capital, such as knowledge and competence in Judaism, to the formation of Jewish identity. Pomson and Schnoor provide readers with a unique view into the complexity of being Jewish in North America today.
About the authors
Alex Pomson is a researcher and managing director of Rosov Consulting. Among numerous publications, he is co-editor of The International Handbook of Jewish Education.
Randal F. Schnoor is a sociologist and he teaches sociology and Jewish Studies at the Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York.
The research reported here is a valuable contribution to the small number of cohort studies of changes over time in the ways that Jews think of themselves and act. It is particularly important as a detailed examination of a small sample, an interwoven series of related case studies. The study is rich in its account of how people see the world and account for their behaviors. It uses theoretical concepts that add to the repertoire for understanding Jewish identity and argues for a research focus on the role of family systems in identity.