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Social Science Sociology Of Religion

The Jewish Family

A Survey and Annotated Bibliography

edited by Benjamin Schlesinger

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 1971
Sociology of Religion, Interpersonal Relations, Marriage & Family, General, Social Work
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    Publish Date
    Dec 1971
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Through the ages the family has been the primary social and religious unit in Judaism. The Jewish home fostered the wholeness of life through birth and education, courtship and marriage, sickness and recovery, and the serenity of old age. Into the framework of the family was fitted the colourful picture of Israel's sancta: the holidays and Sabbaths, feasts and fasts, each of them recalling an event of the past. The Jewish concept of family life has been the major factor in the preservation and survival of the Jewish people.


In today's open and changing society the problems facing the Jewish family are legion, and they have been well documented. The processes of social and technological change have contributed to the obsolescence of traditional values, the secularization of religion, identity crises, generation gaps, and the allocation of family responsibilities to surrogate institutions. The Jewish family is confronted with changing social values that influence and sometimes conflict with ethnic and religious Jewish values.


The four essays in this volume select some highlights related to the development of the Jewish family. The first by the editor is a review of family life from biblical times to the Shtetl of Eastern Europe. The second essay by Jack Balswick asks the question "Are American-Jewish families closely knit?" The third paper by Israel Ellman reviews studies related to Jewish intermarriage in the United States; the last essay by the editor examines family life in the kibbutz of Israel, a new Jewish family patter.


The annotated bibliography lists 430 pamphlets, booklets, books, and journal articles related to varied aspects of the Jewish family from biblical to modern-day family patterns. Only entries in English, published before 1 August 1970, were included.


The appendix contains a list of 150 books dealing with Jewish life in fiction, and statistical tables which cover the world Jewish population of 1969, as well as the addresses of the publishers of the entries listed in the annotated bibliography.


This is the only book available covering this important topic. It will be of help to social scientists, social agencies, university students of psychology, sociology, Jewish studies, and social work, and those engaged in family life education. It will also be an invaluable reference tool to religious schools who include this topic in their studies.

About the author

Benjamin Schlesinger is Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. He has previously published 22 academic books.

Benjamin Schlesinger's profile page

Other titles by Benjamin Schlesinger