By Bonnie J. Morris
Lubavitcher girls in the United States bargains an extraordinary examine the area of Hasidic girls activists because international warfare II. The revival of ultra-Orthodox Judaism within the moment 1/2 the 20th century has baffled many assimilated American Jews, particularly these Jewish feminists adversarial to Orthodox interpretations of women's roles. this article provides voice to the lives of these Hasidic girls who served the overdue Lubavitcher Rebbe as educators and outreach activists, and examines their frequently winning efforts to recruit different Jewish girls to the Lubavitcher group in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. critical to this booklet is how Lubavitcher ladies have "talked again" to American feminist notion. Arguing that American feminism can't release Jewish women--that a in particular Jewish spirituality is extra applicable and fulfilling--Lubavitcher ladies have helped to swell the ranks in their Rebbe's fans by way of aggressively selling the allure of conventional, established Jewish observance. The publication hence deals a distinct examine lady anti-feminist non secular rhetoric, articulately awarded by means of Jewish "fundamentalists.
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Extra resources for Lubavitcher Women in America: Identity and Activism in the Postwar Era
The concept of "woman of valor" expanded to encompass both the traditional responsibilities of motherhood and piety through example, and the public role of Jewish missionary to wayward Jews. This change not only placed the Hasidic woman in the secular world, but reintroduced the secular world to the vibrancy of Hasidism. In her dissertation on Ukrainian Hasidism, scholar Yaffa Eliach criticized the predominance of studies on Hasidism that exam- 26 ~ Lubavitcher Women in America ined Hasidic life "only against the background of Judaic ideas and Jewish society of Eastern Europe.
As they were not obligated in the first place, no amount of study could earn women the approval or mentoring reserved for the lowliest of male students. Beyond this legal point, we find the opinion that women mocked Torah with their poor grasp of its depths. The theme of male embarrassment by both female academic ability and inability is present in many forms in traditional Jewish literature. While a foolish woman embarrassed her teacher, a learned woman embarrassed the entire community; to have a woman recite from the Torah at public services implied that no man present was equal to the task, for which he, not she, had been groomed since infancy.
13 Texts raising serious questions about the positive appeal of the contemporary Hasidic lifestyle for many women would not appear outside of the Hasidic press until Lis Harris's Holy Days in 1985. This popular glimpse into Lubavitch lives was followed by two 1991 studies on Jewish women choosing Hasidism as a lifestyle: Lynn Davidman's Tradition in a Rootless World and Debra Kaufman's Rachel's Daughters. It is significant that both 20 <~> Lubavitcher Women in America Davidman and Kaufman, sociologists and women's studies scholars of the baalot teshuvah phenomenon, uncovered substantial evidence of American Jewish women who found Hasidism more rewarding than feminist critique.
Lubavitcher Women in America: Identity and Activism in the Postwar Era by Bonnie J. Morris