Doubting the Devout: The Ultra-Orthodox in the Jewish American Imagination

Overview

Before 1985, depictions of ultra-Orthodox Jews in popular American culture were rare, and if they did appear, in films such as Fiddler on the Roof or within the novels of Chaim Potok, they evoked a nostalgic vision of Old World tradition. Yet the ordination of women into positions of religious leadership and other controversial issues have sparked an increasingly visible and voluble culture war between America's ultra-Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews, one that has found a ...

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Doubting the Devout: The Ultra-Orthodox in the Jewish American Imagination

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Overview

Before 1985, depictions of ultra-Orthodox Jews in popular American culture were rare, and if they did appear, in films such as Fiddler on the Roof or within the novels of Chaim Potok, they evoked a nostalgic vision of Old World tradition. Yet the ordination of women into positions of religious leadership and other controversial issues have sparked an increasingly visible and voluble culture war between America's ultra-Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews, one that has found a particularly creative voice in literature, media, and film.

Unpacking the work of Allegra Goodman, Tova Mirvis, Pearl Abraham, Erich Segal, Anne Roiphe, and others, as well as television shows and films such as A Price Above Rubies, Nora L. Rubel investigates the choices non-haredi Jews have made as they represent the character and characters of ultra-Orthodox Jews. In these artistic and aesthetic acts, Rubel recasts the war over gender and family and the anxieties over acculturation, Americanization, and continuity. More than just a study of Jewishness and Jewish self-consciousness, Doubting the Devout will speak to any reader who has struggled to balance religion, family, and culture.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

H-Judaic - Wendy Zierler
A lucid, well-written, and clearly argued book,
Lillith - Rachel Gordan
Even if you've read none of the books Rubel discusses, hers is a worthwhile reflection on a major cultural divide in contemporary American judaism.
H-Judaic
A lucid, well-written, and clearly argued book,

— Wendy Zierler

Jewish Book World
Smart and perceptive book
Lillith
Even if you've read none of the books Rubel discusses, hers is a worthwhile reflection on a major cultural divide in contemporary American judaism.

— Rachel Gordan

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231141871
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2009
  • Series: Religion and American Culture Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Nora L. Rubel is assistant professor of religion and classics at the University of Rochester and teaches courses on American Judaism, religion and ethnicity, and religion in relation to American foodways.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction: A Family Feud1. Orthodoxy and Nostalgia in the American Jewish Imagination2. Rebbes' Daughters: The New Chosen3. The New Jewish Gothic4. Muggers in Black CoatsConclusion: They Are Us in Other ClothesNotes Bibliography Index

Columbia University Press

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