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Gender and Judaism

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Title: Gender and Judaism  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Jewish feminism, Gender and Judaism, Haviva Ner-David, Walter Jacob, Women in the Bible
Collection: Gender and Judaism, Gender Studies, Jewish Views on Society, Judaic Studies in Academia, Judaism and Women
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gender and Judaism

Gender and Judaism is an emerging subfield at the intersection of gender studies and Jewish studies. Gender studies centers on interdisciplinary research on the phenomenon of gender. It focuses on cultural representations of gender and people's lived experience. Jewish studies is a field that looks at Jews and Judaism, through such disciplines as history, anthropology, literary studies, linguistics, and sociology.


  • History 1
  • Scope 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5
  • Bibliography 6


Gender and Judaism has drawn scholarly interest due to the rapid growth of its intersecting fields during the late 20th century, fueled as well by popular and academic attention to Jewish feminism. As universities established women's studies programs, they have linked to Jewish studies as well. For instance, in 1997, Brandeis University established the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, which aims to "develop fresh ways of thinking about Jews and gender worldwide by producing and promoting scholarly research and artistic projects."[1] In addition, controversies over the role of women in Jewish denominations has drawn attention to gender roles, as constructed and regulated by religious institutions. For this reason, besides the academic attention, the liberal Jewish movements turn to gender and Judaism to reinforce their own mission and identity. Notably, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College has established the Gottesman Chair in Gender and Judaism and operates Kolot — the Center for Jewish Women's and Gender Studies ",[2] the first such center established at a rabbinical seminary (1996).

With the U.S.-based Association of Jewish Studies, a women's caucus works "to advance the study of gender within the Association for Jewish Studies and within the wider academic community." AJS holds at least one panel on gender every annual meeting, provide funding for presentations on gender and Judaism and published a collection of syllabi pertaining to gender.[3]


Gender and Jewish studies intersect primarily through research on Jewish women and the role of women in Judaism and Jewish culture.

Nonetheless, gender and Jewish studies also investigate the gender phenomena pertaining to men and masculinity. In addition, the subfield encompasses research on homosexuality and queer theory as these pertain to Jews and Judaism.

In historical terms, gender and Jewish studies span a broad range, from Biblical exegesis, research on rabbinic literature, Medieval Jewish culture, the importance of gender in Jewish responses to modernity, and gender identity politics in the contemporary period.

See also


  1. ^ -Brandeis Institute
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ AJS

External links

  • History of Beckerman Kolot collection on gender and Judaism at RRC, by librarian D. Stern
  • Kolot: Center for Jewish Women and Gender Studies [2]
  • Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies and Gender Issues
  • Jewish Law Watch, Center for Women in Jewish Law on agunah
  • M.A. Degree in Jewish Studies: Women's and Gender Studies, Schechter Institute, Israel. The Institute has also held conferences on "The Teaching of Gender Studies and Judaica" and "The Impact of Women's and Gender Studies on Jewish Studies"
  • Laura Levitt. "Judaism and Gender," International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Neil J. Smelser, and Dr. Paul B. Baltes, Editors in Chief, Oxford : Elsevier Science Limited, 2001, 8011-8014. A thorough historical survey of Gender and Jewish studies
  • Spots of Light: Women in the Holocaust an online exhibition by Yad Vashem


  • Lori Hope Lefkovitz. "Reflections on the Future of Jewish Feminism and Jewish Feminist Scholarship" in Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues 10 (2005) 218-224 The author holds the Gottesman Chair in Gender and Judaism at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; founded and is the Director of Kolot: Center for Jewish Women and Gender Studies at RRC
  • ____________. "Passing as a Man: Narratives of Jewish Gender Performance," in Narrative, 10/1 (2002).
  • Sarah Bunin Benor. "Talmid Chachams and Tsedeykeses: Language, Learnedness, and Masculinity Among Orthodox Jews," by Jewish Social Studies; Fall 2004, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p147-170.
  • Jewish Women's Archives
  • Rivkah Teitz Blau. Gender relationships in marriage and out. Orthodox Forum series. New York; Jersey City, NJ: Michael Scharf Publication Trust of the Yeshiva University Press; Distributed by KTAV Pub. House, 2007. ISBN 978-0-88125-971-1.
  • Daniel Boyarin, Daniel Itzkovitz and Ann Pellegrini. Queer theory and the Jewish question. Between men—between women. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-231-11374-9, ISBN 0-231-11375-7.
  • Daniel Boyarin. Unheroic conduct : the rise of heterosexuality and the invention of the Jewish man. Contraversions. 8, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997. ISBN 0-520-21050-6.
  • ______.Carnal Israel : reading sex in Talmudic culture. The New historicism. 25, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. ISBN 0-520-08012-2.
  • Jonathan Boyarin and Daniel Boyarin. Jews and other differences : the new Jewish cultural studies. Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, 1997. ISBN 0-8166-2750-9, ISBN 0-8166-2751-7.
  • Andrea Dworkin. Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women's Liberation (2000) ISBN 0-684-83612-2
  • Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert. Menstrual purity : rabbinic and Christian reconstructions of Biblical gender. Contraversions. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8047-3725-8.
  • Jonathan Frankel. Jews and gender : the challenge to hierarchy. Studies in contemporary Jewry. 16, Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-19-514081-8.
  • Mark H. Gelber. Melancholy pride : nation, race, and gender in the German literature of cultural Zionism. Conditio Judaica. 23, Tübingen: M. Niemeyer, 2000. ISBN 3-484-65123-7.
  • Sander L. Gilman. Freud, race, and gender. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-691-03245-9.
  • Leonard J. Greenspoon, Ronald Simkins, Jean Axelrad Cahan, Philip M. and Ethel Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civilization, University of Nebraska—Lincoln. Harris Center for Judaic Studies and Creighton University. Center for the Study of Religion and Society. Women and Judaism. Studies in Jewish civilization. 14, Omaha, NE; Lincoln, NE: Creighton University Press; Distributed by the University of Nebraska Press, 2003. ISBN 1-881871-43-6.
  • Joel Lurie Grishaver. The bonding of Isaac : stories and essays about gender and Jewish spirituality. Los Angeles, CA: Alef Design Group, 1997. ISBN 1-881283-20-8.
  • Nancy A. Harrowitz and Barbara Hyams. Jews & gender : responses to Otto Weininger. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995. ISBN 1-56639-248-9, ISBN 1-56639-249-7.
  • Lawrence A. Hoffman. Covenant of blood : circumcision and gender in rabbinic Judaism. Chicago studies in the history of Judaism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. ISBN 0-226-34783-4, ISBN 0-226-34784-2.
  • Tsipy Ivry. Embodying Culture: Pregnancy in Japan and Israel. Studies in Medical Anthropology. Rutgers University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8135-4636-0, ISBN 978-0-8135-4635-3.
  • Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer. Gender issues in Jewish law : essays and responsa. Studies in progressive halakhah. New York: Berghahn Books, 2001. ISBN 1-57181-239-3.
  • Rosemary Skinner Keller, Rosemary Radford Ruether and Marie Cantlon. Encyclopedia of women and religion in North America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-253-34685-1; 025334686X; 0253346878; 0253346886; 9780253346858; 9780253346865; 9780253346872; 9780253346889.
  • Orah Kohen. Mi-shene ʻevre ha-mehitsah : li-she'elat ha-hafradah ha-migdarit ba-halakhah ha-Yehudit. Elhanah: O. Kohen, 2007. ISBN 965-7402-04-2.
  • Kristen E. Kvam, Linda S. Schearing and Valarie H. Ziegler. Eve and Adam : Jewish, Christian, and Muslim readings on Genesis and gender. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-253-33490-X; 0253212715.
  • Jacob Lassner. Demonizing the Queen of Sheba : boundaries of gender and culture in postbiblical Judaism and medieval Islam. Chicago studies in the history of Judaism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993. ISBN 0-226-46913-1, ISBN 0-226-46915-8.
  • Hara Person, Carolyn Bricklin, Owen Gottlieb, Melissa Zalkin Stollman and Doug Barden. The gender gap : a congregational guide for beginning the conversation about men's involvement in synagogue life. New York: URJ Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-8074-1058-5, ISBN 0-8074-1058-6.
  • Miriam Peskowitz. Spinning fantasies : rabbis, gender, and history. Contraversions. 9, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997. ISBN 0-520-20831-5, ISBN 0-520-20967-2.
  • Robert Leonard Platzner. Gender, tradition, and renewal Robert L. Platzner. Religions and discourse. 13, Oxford ; New York: Peter Lang, 2005. ISBN 3-906769-64-X; 0820459011.
  • Jacqueline Portuguese. Fertility policy in Israel : the politics of religion, gender, and nation. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1998. ISBN 0-275-96098-6.
  • Melissa Raphael. The female face of God in Auschwitz : a Jewish feminist theology of the Holocaust. Religion and gender. London ; New York: Routledge, 2003. ISBN 0-415-23664-9, ISBN 0-415-23665-7.
  • Jennifer Ring. The political consequences of thinking : gender and Judaism in the work of Hannah Arendt. SUNY series in political theory. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1997. ISBN 0-7914-3483-4, ISBN 0-7914-3484-2.
  • Susan Starr Sered. What makes women sick?: maternity, modesty, and militarism in Israeli society. Brandeis University Press, 2000.
  • Linda M. Shires. Coming home : a woman's story of conversion to Judaism. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2003. ISBN 0-8133-6596-1.
  • Elly Teman. Birthing a Mother: the Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-520-25964-5, ISBN 978-0-520-25963-8.
  • Claire M. Tylee. "In the open" : Jewish women writers and British culture. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2006. ISBN 0-87413-933-3, ISBN 978-0-87413-933-4.
  • Claudia Ulbrich. Shulamit and Margarete : power, gender, and religion in a rural society in eighteenth-century Europe. Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2005. ISBN 0-391-04227-0.
  • Elaine Wainwright. Women healinghealing women : the genderization of healing in early Christianity. BibleWorld. London ; Oakville, CT: Equinox Pub. Ltd., 2006. ISBN 1-84553-134-5, ISBN 1-84553-135-3.
  • Elliot R. Wolfson. Language, eros, being : kabbalistic hermeneutics and poetic imagination. New York: Fordham University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8232-2418-X; 0823224198.
  • ______.Circle in the square : studies in the use of gender in Kabbalistic symbolism. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995. ISBN 0-7914-2405-7, ISBN 0-7914-2406-5.
  • Diane Wolfthal. Picturing Yiddish : gender, identity, and memory in the illustrated Yiddish books of Renaissance Italy. Brill's series in Jewish studies. 36, Leiden: Boston : Brill, 2004. ISBN 90-04-13905-2.
  • Helena Zlotnick. Dinah's daughters : gender and Judaism from the Hebrew Bible to late antiquity. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8122-3644-0, ISBN 0-8122-1797-7.
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