By Egon Mayer
Marriage among Jews and Christians
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Extra resources for Love & Tradition: Marriage between Jews and Christians
Hunt, are correct, the popular infatuation with romantic love and its close connection in the pop- TWO CAN MAKE A REVOLUTION 37 ular mind with marriage is a relatively recent phenomenon. For most of history, men and women were joined in matrimony out of more practical considerations, such as the demands of social conventionality or the needs for security. Looking back upon traditional patterns of courtship, Shorter writes, All situations in which boys and girls met for the first time were monitored by some larger group ....
The proverbial power of love, which popularly accounts for the incidence of intermarriage itself, should have rendered all previous tribal loyalties for naught. Or as Zangwill put it, the melting pot should have so alloyed the couple's traditions that the new amalgam would not betray traces of its origins. Finally, any understanding of how intermarrieds merge their ancestral traditions with their contemporary life-style must encompass the ways in which modern families, Jewish families especially, incorporate tradition into their lives.
However, it must be recalled that between the 1880s and the 1920s, about half of the approximately 5 million Jews who lived in Eastern Europe immigrated to the United States. Begin- TWO CAN MAKE A REVOLUTION 45 ning with the pogroms of 1881, masses of shtetl Jews were quite literally chased into the modern world by the whips and swords of Russian Cossacks. Rather than try to bear it stoically, dying martyrs' deaths as their ancestors might have done, millions of Jews from the Pale chose the path of migration to the West, specifically to the United States.