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Navigating Ultra-Orthodox Jewish motherhood in the United Kingdom


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This article has been composed from a larger mixed methods study that explores how Haredi mothers in the United Kingdom experience their motherhood and what they understand by “social work support.” The mixed method study used questionnaires and interviews as its tools in data collection. Thirty Haredi mothers from across the UK’s Haredi communities responded to an online questionnaire and thirteen subsequently took part in an online interview. Mary Douglas’s Group-Grid Cultural theoretical perspectives as well as gender theories’ principles were utilized in data collection and analysis. Findings include an overview of quantified data and a thematic discussion of how Haredi mothers experience their motherhood and what they understand by “social support” and “social work.” Their individual perceptions of social work engagement within the Haredi community are presented with the quotes from the interviews. Motherhood is seen by Haredi mothers as a life’s goal, “a raison d’etre,” and mothers’ experiences are focused around their community and strict religious observance that is transmitted to their children through religious education and traditional rituals. Although social support is seen as welcome but only when absolutely necessary, the social work involvement is seen as problematic. Haredi mothers reported that the lack of cultural sensitivity from social workers is a major barrier. That barrier has tremendous implications for the mothers and whole families, be it further isolation, shame, stigma and helplessness. Haredi mothers voice their views on the need of the cultural sensitivity training and professional curiosity that will help building trust between the insular Haredi and the outside social support services



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution 4.0 United States License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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Link to download in university repository, Navigating Ultra-Orthodox Jewish motherhood in the United Kingdom

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Phillips, Natalia, Hakak, Yohai Navigating Ultra-Orthodox Jewish motherhood in the United Kingdom. Journal of Motherhood Studies. 2023:  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/object-3722