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Date: 2018
Date: 2020
Abstract: In the Netherlands, religions are often positioned as opposite to secular ideals of women’s freedom. While women’s emancipation supposedly grants women their autonomy, religions are suspected of reaffirming gender inequality. In this religion-versus-emancipation dilemma, questions of the body are pertinent, since traditional religions are framed as restricting and regulating women’s bodies. Questions about modesty, sexual relations, clothing and food preparations often come up in such debates. There seems to be a particular tension for women who convert to religions that are often regarded as ‘gender conservative’, and this chapter sheds light on that field of tension. This expands the field of women’s conversion – which has typically focused on Islamic women – by employing a comparative analysis of interviews and participant observation with Jewish, Christian and Muslim Dutch women converts. Joining a religion that one was not raised in is a process of ethical self-fashioning through training and disciplining of both the body and mind. Converts have to learn how to eat, how to pray, how to dress and how to have sex in such a way that it permits them to give shape to their religious subjectivity and pious desires. What I found is that performing authenticity is a central and embodied characteristic of modern-day conversion stories in the ‘age of authenticity’. This performance is often played out through the sexual and gendered body and religious subject transformations were closely related to sexual self-fashioning. In order to understand these links between conversion, sexuality and the body, I focus on experiences and ideas about virginity and marriage, menstruation and homosexuality. In this chapter, I aim to show that sexual embodiments and ethics cannot be understood as either religious or secular, but rather as a new form of religious subjectivity within Europe as a space where authenticity has become the most important mode for selfhood.
Date: 2021
Abstract: With Finnish independence in 1917, long-awaited legislative reforms were put in force in the country. Jews gained the right to obtain Finnish citizenship. The same year, the Finnish Parliament implemented the Civil Marriage Act (CMA), allowing the country’s Jewish citizens to marry non-Jews without converting to Christianity. In 1922, the constitutional right to freedom of religion was affirmed in the Freedom of Religion Act (FRA), granting the right to practice religion in public and private and allowing Finnish citizens to refrain from belonging to any religious community altogether. The FRA also addressed the question of children whose parents belonged to different religious congregations or who were unaffiliated. The FRA defined the religious affiliation of children after their father; this was, however, against the Orthodox Jewish law (halakhah) that the local Finnish Jewish communities wished to follow, which traced a child’s religious affiliation matrilineally.

Due to the small size of the Jewish marriage market and to the secularizing tendencies of the Jewish congregations, the number of intermarriages started to grow in the early twentieth century, and soon, they became a characteristic phenomenon of Finnish Jewish realities. This resulted in a growing number of halakhically non-Jewish children. Thus, the communities faced several challenges in terms of their administration and everyday practices.

This article-based dissertation provides an overview of Finnish-Jewish intermarriages from 1917 until the present by analyzing archival materials together with newly collected semi-structured ethnographic interviews. The interviews were conducted with members of the communities who are partners in intermarriages, either as individuals who married out or as individuals who married in and converted to Judaism. The key theoretical underpinning of the study is vernacular religion, which is complemented by relevant international research on contemporary interreligious Jewish families.

The results of the study show that while most informants understand Jewish law flexibly and rarely consider themselves “religious,” the differences between the practices of intermarried men and women are remarkable. Whereas women employ creativity and “do Judaism” to establish practices they consider meaningful for their Jewishness and Jewish identity, men tend to draw on their cultural heritage and often refrain from creative practices. The study also indicates that the adult conversion of women is far more common than that of men, making conversion a gendered phenomenon in the Finnish Jewish communities. Most informants of this study “do Judaism” in various ways and often choose to perform certain traditions to strengthen their connection to Judaism and ensure Jewish continuity through their children. Intermarried members and converts form a large part of the Finnish Jewish communities, and thus the results shed light on patterns that can be assumed to characterize multiple Finnish Jewish households.
Date: 2021
Date: 2016
Abstract: Objective: To explore determinants of participation in breast cancer screening in orthodox Jewish women living in Antwerp, Belgium, and to uncover their opinions and attitudes towards screening, and thereby to detect ways to optimize participation. Study design: Focus group discussions were performed during the last months of 2011 and the first half of 2012 to explore motivation to participate or not in breast cancer screening. Groups consisted of five to seven women. Inclusion criteria were: being female, considering oneself as orthodox Jewish, aged between 50 and 69 years. Results: Three focus group discussions with in a total of 20 women had taken place. All participants in the focus group discussions had a screening mammography taken on a regular base. All participants agreed that the social cohesion between Jewish orthodox women and the importance that is given to healthcare within the Jewish tradition are important contributors to their participation in a breast cancer screening program. Pain, lack of information during the exam, lack of confidence in the quality of the exam, perceived problems when the examining doctor/technician is male, and fear of the results are mentioned as barriers. The participants, however, state that these were not important enough to result in non-participation. Barriers could be diminished by information sessions specifically aimed at orthodox Jewish women. Conclusion: This qualitative research demonstrates a generally positive attitude of orthodox Jewish women living in Antwerp, Belgium, towards mammographic breast cancer screening. Increased and repeated structured information sessions are likely to improve breast cancer awareness in this population.
Author(s): Yakimenko, Svetlana
Date: 2016
Abstract: Since 1989 Project Kesher has worked bringing women together, creating a network of Jewish women, helping women who knew nothing or very little about what it means to be Jewish, not only to become Jewish, but to create and strengthen Jewish community life in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and Moldova. We shared success and analyzed the changes. We felt that we were one people.

Due to the present political crises we lost our vision as one Jewish people, we became divided. It was clear Project Kesher needed to take action. We started with International Skype calls. Every evening one woman from Russia, one from Ukraine, one from Belarus, one from Israel called a woman in another country: talking, sharing our love and support, wishing peace. When women started calling each other again and restoring broken relationships we saw that “KESHER” – connection – is working.

One day when there was a serious military clash in the area where she lived one of our leaders proposed to read Tehilim (Psalms), as prayers for peace. Soon more than one hundred women were reading Psalms, creating a chain of peace. Such a spirit of peace prevailed even at a time when the air was filled with war.

In Russia there are refugee families from different regions of the Ukraine. Sometimes they lost everything. Project Kesher women’s groups in cooperation with other Jewish organizations collected clothes, foot-wear as well as school-bags, school record books, sketchbooks, colored paper, paperboard, plasticine, pencil boxes, paints and markers for refugee children. Project Kesher activists also actively participated in organizing camps for refugees in Kharkiv and the Dnipropretrovsk region (Ukraine).

In times of conflict the wish to live in peace is not enough. Women needed instruments for conflict resolution. Project Kesher developed a unique leadership training program with the aim to enable the participants to conduct trainings in conflict resolution themselves in Jewish communities and partner organizations and to engage in mediation. These trainings are often based on Jewish tradition and text study.

A special event is Project Kesher’s Global Women’s Seder that was celebrated in 2015 for the 21st time. No less than 2500 members of 140 Project Kesher women’s and youth groups in 110 cities and five countries – Belarus, Georgia, Israel, Russia and the Ukraine – participated this year. The participants spoke about peace and declared that they intended to do everything possible to maintain peace in their families and in society. With the energy it sets free Project Kesher continues to initiate positive changes.
Author(s): Graff, Agnieszka
Date: 2018
Date: 2017
Abstract: Η μακρόχρονη ελληνο-εβραϊκή παρουσία στην Ελλάδα παρακολουθεί τις πολιτικές και κοινωνικές αλλαγές που επισυμβαίνουν στην ελληνική κοινωνία, η οποία βαθμιαία εκκοσμικεύεται και εκσυγχρονίζεται. Εξετάζοντας την περίπτωση της ελληνο-ισραηλιτικής παρουσίας, βάση οργάνωσης των Ισραηλιτικών Κοινοτήτων είναι η κοινότητα (ένας κοσμικός θεσμός) και όχι η θρησκεία (ο θρησκευτικός θεσμός), κατά συνέπεια η ταυτότητα των σύγχρονων Ελληνίδων Εβραίων γυναικών παρουσιάζεται εκμοντερνισμένη. Και αυτό, επειδή αφενός ο θρησκευτικός προσδιορισμός έχει λάβει περισσότερο πολιτιστική σημασία και αφετέρου, διότι οι γυναικείοι ρόλοι διαδραματίζονται εντός και εκτός του εβραϊκού περιβάλλοντος, αφού οι δρώντες άνθρωποι περιδιαβαίνουν τόσο εντός των ιουδαϊκών ορίων, όσο και εντός της εκκοσμικευμένης ελληνικής κοινωνίας.

Στο πλαίσιο της μοντέρνας αυτής πραγματικότητας, ο ρόλος των γυναικών κινείται ανάμεσα στην παράδοση και στη νεωτερικότητα, εφόσον τα γυναικεία υποκείμενα από τη μία πλευρά αποδέχονται την πλήρη ενσωμάτωσή τους στην κοσμική ελληνική κοινωνία, και από την άλλη πλευρά θεωρούνται άτυποι φορείς διατήρησης της ιδιαίτερης παραδοσιακής εβραϊκής τους ταυτότητας. Στόχος της παρούσας εισήγησης, είναι να διερευνήσει τον τρόπο με τον οποίο οι Εβραίες γυναίκες στην Ελλάδα διαχειρίζονται την παραδοσιακή και ηθική πλευρά της ταυτότητάς τους, σε πλήρη συνάρτηση με το εκκοσμικευμένο ελληνικό πλαίσιο.
Date: 2020
Author(s): Davis, Angela
Date: 2018
Author(s): Vuola, Elina
Date: 2019
Date: 2016
Date: 2011
Abstract: Au carrefour des études de genre, de la sociologie des religions, et de la sociologie politique, cette recherche explore la dimension locale des conflits religieux sur le genre à partir du cas du judaïsme français des années 2000 et la fabrique organisationnelle du genre et de l'identité juive dans les synagogues non orthodoxes en France, qui se caractérisent notamment par l'ouverture du rituel aux femmes. L'approche ethnographique permet d'analyser les dispositifs de socialisation (comme l'organisation de l'espace, du rituel, de la prise de parole, de la formation religieuse, de la mobilisation pour le développement de la synagogue) qui contribuent à la production locale du genre. En particulier, cette thèse montre comment la perception de la division sexuée du travail dans l'organisation, l'appropriation des débats religieux sur le genre, la légitimité de mobilisations locales pour la participation des femmes au rituel, dépendent de la position de chaque organisation dans les concurrences religieuses. Dans une configuration où la place des femmes dans l'espace religieux est utilisée comme marqueur symbolique entre courants religieux en concurrence pour la définition de l'identité juive (configuration que l'on propose d'appeler plus généralement politisation religieuse du genre) la participation répétée au rituel et aux activités de la synagogue engendre un intérêt pratique pour le genre, qui se traduit notamment par une fierté égalitaire masculine et par une injonction féminine à la justification. Si les travaux sur genre et religion ont surtout abordé les contextes religieux conservateurs, cette recherche explore la normativité des contextes religieux égalitaires
Date: 2017
Date: 2009
Abstract: This paper examines how Rabbinic and communal authorities participated in treatment decisions made by a group of strictly orthodox haredi Jews with breast cancer living in London. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five haredi breast cancer patients. The transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Demographic and personal data were collected using structured questionnaires. All participants sought Rabbinic involvement, with four seeking rulings concerning religious rituals and treatment options. Participants' motivations were to ensure their actions accorded with Jewish law and hence God's will. By delegating treatment decisions, decision-making became easier and participants could avoid guilt and blame. They could actively participate in the process by choosing which Rabbi to approach, by providing personal information and by stating their preferences. Attitudes towards Rabbinic involvement were occasionally conflicted. This was related to the understanding that Rabbinic rulings were binding, and occasional doubts that their situation would be correctly interpreted. Three participants consulted the community's ‘culture broker’ for medical referrals and non-binding advice concerning treatment. Those who consulted the culture broker had to transcend social norms restricting unnecessary contact between men and women. Hence, some participants described talking to him as uncomfortable. Other concerns related to confidentiality.

By consulting Rabbinic authorities, haredi cancer patients participated in a socially sanctioned method of decision-making continuous with their religious values. Imposing meaning on their illness in this way may be associated with positive psychological adjustment. Rabbinic and communal figures may endorse therapeutic recommendations and make religious and cultural issues comprehensible to clinicians, and as such healthcare practitioners may benefit from this involvement.