Next Year I Will Know More: Literacy and Identity among Young Orthodox Women in Israel

Overview

In traditional Jewish societies of previous centuries, literacy education was mostly a male prerogative. Even more recently, women have not been taught the traditional male curriculum that includes the Talmud and midrashic books. But the situation is changing, partly because of the special emphasis that modern Judaism places on learning its philosophy and traditions and on broadening its circle of knowers. In Next Year I Will Know More, the distinguished Israeli anthropologist Tamar El-Or explores the spreading ...
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In traditional Jewish societies of previous centuries, literacy education was mostly a male prerogative. Even more recently, women have not been taught the traditional male ... curriculum that includes the Talmud and midrashic books. But the situation is changing, partly because of the special emphasis that modern Judaism places on learning its philosophy and traditions and on broadening its circle of knowers. In Next Year I Will Know More, the distinguished Israeli anthropologist Tamar El-Or explores the spreading practice of intensive Judaic studies among women in the religious Zionist community. Feminist literacy, notes El-Or, will alter gender relations and the construction of gender identities of the members of the religious community. This in turn could effect changes in Jewish theology and law. In an engaging narrative that offers rare insights into a traditional society in the midst of a modern world, the author points to a community that will be more feminist—and even more religious. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In traditional Jewish societies of previous centuries, literacy education was mostly a male prerogative. Even more recently, women have not been taught the traditional male curriculum that includes the Talmud and midrashic books. But the situation is changing, partly because of the special emphasis that modern Judaism places on learning its philosophy and traditions and on broadening its circle of knowers. In Next Year I Will Know More, the distinguished Israeli anthropologist Tamar El-Or explores the spreading practice of intensive Judaic studies among women in the religious Zionist community. Feminist literacy, notes El-Or, will alter gender relations and the construction of gender identities of the members of the religious community. This in turn could effect changes in Jewish theology and law. In an engaging narrative that offers rare insights into a traditional society in the midst of a modern world, the author points to a community that will be more feminist—and even more religious.
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Meet the Author

Tamar El-Or is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
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Table of Contents

Translator's Note - A Narrative Glossary 9
Prelude: The Cypresses in Magdiel 15
I The Research Site and Methods 23
1 The Demand for Midrashot 25
2 Fieldwork as Homework 53
II Next Pesach - Biographies of Students and Their Analysis 87
3 Biographies of Torah Learners 89
4 Six Colors - Many Voices 131
III Dialogues on Torah Study and the Constitution of Identity 173
5 Between Joy and Enslavement - Constructing the New Mother 175
6 Between Yavne and Jerusalem - Nationality and Citizenship: An Aggadah Class 207
7 Between Torah and Science - The Last Modernists: A Class in the Philosophy of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hakohen Kook 233
IV Anthropology and Literacy - From Critique to Participation 263
Leah's Tallit 263
Not Obligated but Able 280
Literacy on Anthropology and Vice-Versa - Conclusion 290
Epilogue: Is It a Real Revolution? Three Stations 293
Notes 301
List of References 315
Index 323
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