As Orthodox Jewish women are increasingly seeking new ways to express themselves religiously, important changes have occurred in their self-definition and in the part they play in the religious life of their communities. This thoroughly researched study draws on the author's surveys and interviews across different Orthodox groups in London, as well as on her own experience of active participation in Jewish communal life over many years. Sympathetic attention is given throughout to women's creativity and sophistication as they struggle to develop new modes of expression that will let their voices be heard; the inevitable points of conflict with the male-dominated religious establishment are examined and explained. There is a focus, too, on women's innovations in ritual: the creation of women-only spaces; women's participation in public practices traditionally reserved for men; and the wide range of new personal practices, often acquired on study visits to Israel, that are replacing traditions learned from family members. To give a broader international perspective, the findings are analysed in the context of related developments in Israel and the USA. This is a much-needed study of how new norms of lived religion are emerging, influenced by both the rise of feminism and the backlash against it, and also by women's new understanding of their religious roles.
|Littman Library of Jewish Civilization
- Jewish Studies
- Gender Studies
- Orthodox Judaism