The Men's Section: Orthodox Jewish Men in an Egalitarian World

Overview

In this illuminating book, Elana Sztokman investigates a fascinating new sociological phenomenon: Orthodox Jewish men who connect themselves to egalitarian or quasi-egalitarian religious enterprises. She examines the men who have enabled these transitions by constituting the requisite ten-man prayer quorum of Orthodoxy. By participating in "Partnership Minyanim," these men support the reconstruction of both male and female roles without leaving the Orthodox religious world.

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The Men's Section: Orthodox Jewish Men in an Egalitarian World

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Overview

In this illuminating book, Elana Sztokman investigates a fascinating new sociological phenomenon: Orthodox Jewish men who connect themselves to egalitarian or quasi-egalitarian religious enterprises. She examines the men who have enabled these transitions by constituting the requisite ten-man prayer quorum of Orthodoxy. By participating in "Partnership Minyanim," these men support the reconstruction of both male and female roles without leaving the Orthodox religious world.

Sztokman interrogates the ideologies and motivations of more than fifty such men in the United States, Israel, and Australia. Beginning with the "Orthodox Man Box" of conventionally constructed male behavior, she explores their struggles to navigate individualism and conformity, tradition and change. Setting their experiences in the context of gender role construction in traditional and contemporary synagogues, she shows how, for example, changes in leadership in Partnership Minyanim facilitate a fresh approach to liturgical expression, offering the possibility of reforming how modern Orthodox Jews attend services and pray.

Winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Women's Studies

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In The Men’s Section: Orthodox Jewish Men in an Egalitarian World, Elana Maryles Sztokman probes the lives of Orthodox men who choose to attend ‘partnership’ synagogues that offer religious services that are traditional and egalitarian in nature, within the Orthodox world. The author studied the ideologies and behavior of more than 50 men in the United States, Israel and Australia.”—The New York Jewish Week

“Sztokman’s book provides the intellectual tools through which we can reconstruct traditional gender identity in novel ways. . . . [it is] a vital contribution well beyond the scene of liberal Orthodoxy.”—The Forward

“The author describes the little-discussed subject of life on the men’s side of the divider.”—Jerusalem Post

“It’s a story about tension, identity and dialogue. About living on the borders of a culture, yet still navigating within them. About negotiating, pushing back, and yes, acceptance. Its tale is particular, yet so universal that scholars and laymen all over the world are picking up Elana Sztokman’s new work.”—Times of Israel

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611680782
  • Publisher: Brandeis University Press
  • Publication date: 11/8/2011
  • Series: HBI Series on Jewish Women
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

ELANA MARYLES SZTOKMAN writes on gender issues for The Forward, and has taught at the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies and Bar-Ilan University, among others.
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Table of Contents

Foreword – Sylvia Barack Fishman
Acknowledgments
Prologue
INTRODUCING ORTHODOX MEN
Jewish Men on the Borders
The “BOMB”: The “Be an Orthodox Man” Box
On Hippies, Heretics, and Hafifniks
CHANGING MEN, CHANGING SOCIETY
Orthodox Men Creating Partnership
Jocks, Dads, and Homebodies
Men Encountering Feminism
ORTHODOX MEN CREATING NEW BOUNDARIES
“Just Not Reform”
The New Patriarchy
REFLECTIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
Reflections on Orthodox Masculinities
Epilogue
Appendixes: Notes on Methodology & Data on the Interviewees
Glossary
Notes
Bibliography
Index
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