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Author(s): Kasstan, Ben
Date: 2016
Abstract: Using an integrated archival and ethnographic approach, this study investigates how the growing Haredi Jewish minority and the UK government negotiate their positions in the context of healthcare services in Manchester as one of the few sites where they directly engage. Low-level uptake of certain maternal and infant health interventions has led to claims that Haredi Jews are ‘hard to reach’ or a ‘non-compliant community.’ This thesis critically engages the above outlook by exploring how responses to healthcare services should be framed. Rather than evading the NHS altogether, as the ‘hard to reach’ label implies, Haredi Jews in Manchester selectively negotiate healthcare services in order to avoid a cosmological conflict with the halachic custodianship of Jewish bodies. Maternal and infant care is situated as a particularly sensitive area of minority-state relations in which competing constructions of bodily protection are at play. Whilst maternal and infant care has historically formed part of the state’s strategy to govern the population, it is increasingly being seized as a point of intervention by Haredi rabbis, doulas, and parents when attempting to reproduce the Haredi social body. Following Roberto Esposito’s (2015 [2002]) theoretical elaboration of ‘immunitas’ the present work depicts the margins as giving rise to antonymic conceptions of ‘immunity’ as a means of protecting collective life. Interventions that the state regard as protecting the health of the nation can, in turn, be viewed as a threat to the life of the Jewish social body. Immunity at the margins can be characterised by an antonymic fault of both the Haredim and the state to understand each other’s expectations of health and bodily care. The margins of the state illustrate how responses to healthcare interventions can be entangled within a struggle of integration, insulation, and assimilation for minority groups in ways that are contiguous over time.
Date: 1993
Abstract: The theoretical emphasis in this thesis is on the ideas that people have regarding
the sociocultural construct of human nature. Regarded as a construct whose form
and content is intrinsically connected to economic, historic and sociocultural factors,
the thesis attempts to explain how specific circumstances have caused the orthodox
Jewish community of Gateshead to re-negotiate and crystallize the concept of
human nature in their quest to live ethical and moral lives. In the last fifty years
this community has become known as a prominent centre for higher rabbinical
studies and attracts students from all over the world. Apart from its high
intellectual standards it has also gained a reputation as harbouring members who
are devoted to inter-personal ethics. The contention of this thesis is that the
community's level of compliance to such behaviours requires an awareness and a
well-defined notion of one's "inner" self and its various components that govern the
process of moral and ethical conduct.
Underpinning a wide range of sociocultural activities the thesis deals in particular
with the way in which ideas of human nature are inherent to the content and form
of indigenous educational theory. The process of child-rearing not only ensures the
reproduction of competent sociocultural members, it also aids the child in acquiring
an understanding of its "inner" self. The latter is in Gateshead defined as the locus
of personal and individual responsibility and is consequently vital in making the child
aware of its potentiality for moral conduct.
By carefully analyzing mother-child interactions it is revealed how the structure and
content of these interactions are organized by and expressive of inherent ideas
concerning the concept of human nature. Through active participation in these
interaction sequences the child is provided with an opportunity to construct and
acquire an understanding of itself as a moral agent.
Author(s): Borts, Barbara
Date: 2014
Abstract: The Movement for Reform Judaism [MRJ] - has been undergoing substantial changes in its style and patterns of worship. The introduction of a new prayer book has been accompanied by a pronounced focus on the music of the various synagogues, as a key element in the re-envisioning of prayer and spirituality in 21st century congregations. These have taken place within the context of the wider context of synagogue renewal, which surfaced first in the USA as Synagogue 2000 (now Synagogue 3000), entailing study, reflection and implementation of a variety of different changes in the hope of attracting and retaining Jews in synagogue services.

This thesis focuses on the relationship between forms of liturgical and ritual music and patterns of spirituality and identity within the UK Reform Jewish world during a period of significant social change. ‘Getting the music right’ is, for some, a major aspect in synagogal renewal and commands a central place in the focus on Judaism into the twenty-first century. Focusing on attitudes towards and experiments with music afford a distinctive manner to access the complexities involved in the interplay of diverse community traditions and contemporary pressures for change.

The complexities of this examination are mirrored in the interdisciplinary perspective of this thesis, as it encompasses the theoretical resources of theological, historical, and social scientific disciplines. Through the historical expansion of the movement, and the synagogues in which I have engaged in ethnographic research, we will note the shifts in movement and synagogal musical cultures, each affording a unique perspective on music in worship. Each helps to elucidate a little bit what constitutes the perspectives and preoccupations of the Anglo-Reform Jewish world.