Isolation Reading for the Week of May 4

Here at UTP, we’ve decided to bring you some great books chosen by our staff for your work-from-home reading. Check in with us every Monday for some fantastic book recommendations. For week 5, Matthew Gatien, our Social Media specialist, has chosen The A-Z of Intermarriage as his staff pick.


By definition of its title, and much of its content, The A-Z of Intermarriage, by Denise Handlarski, is about the intricacies of marriage when one partner is Jewish and one is not. Before we go any further, let me state that I am neither married or engaged, nor am I Jewish (and given that I’m self-isolating at my family home, none of that is changing any time soon). However, I’ve still chosen The A-Z of Intermarriage as the book I want to talk about for my staff pick.

Working on this book has been a privilege for me as Denise Handlarski was one of my instructors at Trent University. As she does in all of her professional endeavours, Denise enables her students to take her teachings and interpret them to their practice and life. The A-Z of Intermarriage offers many lessons that, although intended for marriage, can be applied to all relationships. In essence, the book asks us to be kind to ourselves and others. It asks us to listen actively and attentively. It asks us provide space for others’ cultures, values, and opinions, and to ask the same of them. In this time of social distancing we are spending much more of our time with those we live with than we normally would. We sometimes need to take a beat and remind ourselves to do our best to see situations in others’ eyes so that we can continue to exist in the same space without needing to live in separate corners of the house or apartment with earphones on 24/7.

About partway through the book Denise tells the reader that “J is for joy,” and to “please welcome joy into your hearts and homes.” As we head into May for another full month of quarantine we need to remind ourselves to look for joy in what we have around us, and welcome that joy. While the days sometimes seem to blur together, I am finding joy in getting to spend some unexpected extended time together with my family. I’m also getting to watch a new family pet grow up, which has helped me rediscover all the things I love about my family home. I hope that you’re able to find joy in your home as well.


Interested in finding out more about The A-Z of Intermarriage? Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

Click here to order your copy of The A-z of Intermarriage.


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