I have often said that intermarriage is not solely a Jewish issue. Rather, it is an American issue since it is permeating all aspects of American society, irrespective of religious, racial or ethnic subgroup. Its impact or interest may be different for the North American Jewish community, but we are not alone is responding to the challenge. Consider the Greek Orthodox Church’s view of intermarriage or the rate of intermarriage among second generation Japanese Americans. And if you consider the current exhibition of English photographer Lucy Levene’s images, now on display at the Aftermodern Fine Art Gallery in San Francisco, it seems that intermarriage is not merely an American phenomenon.
According to the website:
Lucy Levene, who resides in London, was awarded an MA in photography by Royal College of Art, London, in 2004. In 2001 she began creation of the series Marrying-In (Please God By You) which explores the tension in the Jewish experience to maintain cultural distinctiveness while assimilating into the mainstream. In 2001, she expressed reluctance to blindly accept familial pressure to marry a “nice Jewish boy.” Her new 2007 works, which continue the series after a five year pause, are more elusive and complex.
Each image documents a performance taking place in a Jewish man’s bedroom, where she asks him to hold hands with her, creating forced intimacy. These photos portray a multiplicity of contradictions between the ideal and the reality of marriage in a multi-cultural society. The original series by Levene was highlighted in reGeneration 50 photographers of tomorrow, published by Aperture Foundation in 2005.
I Guess whoever originally said that “a picture is worth a thousand words” was correct.
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