Lubavitcher Women in America: Identity and Activism in the Postwar Era

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SUNY Press, 1998 - Religion - 186 pages
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Lubavitcher Women in America offers a rare look at the world of Hasidic women activists since World War II. The revival of ultra-Orthodox Judaism in the second half of the twentieth century has baffled many assimilated American Jews, especially those Jewish feminists hostile to Orthodox interpretations of women's roles. This text gives voice to the lives of those Hasidic women who served the late Lubavitcher Rebbe as educators and outreach activists, and examines their often successful efforts to recruit other Jewish women to the Lubavitcher community in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Central to this book is how Lubavitcher women have "talked back" to American feminist thought. Arguing that American feminism cannot liberate Jewish women -- that a specifically Jewish spirituality is more appropriate and fulfilling -- Lubavitcher women have helped to swell the ranks of their Rebbe's followers by aggressively promoting the appeal of traditional, structured Jewish observance. The book thus offers a unique look at female anti-feminist religious rhetoric, articulately presented by Jewish "fundamentalists".

  

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Contents

A WOMAN OF VALOR WHO CAN FIND?
13
EDUCATE A CHILD ACCORDING TO His WAYS
29
INGATHERING THOSE THAT WERE FAR AWAY THE NESHEI CHABAD CONVENTIONS
55
EVERYTHING EMANATES FROM THE WOMAN
78
WHATEVER Is HAPPENING IN THE GENTILE WORLD Is REFLECTED IN THE JEWISH WORLD REACTIONS TO FEMINISM
100
WE MUST LIVE WITH THE TIMES
123
GLOSSARY OF YIDDISH AND HEBREW TERMS
141
NOTES
147
HASIDIC HISTORIOGRAPHY
165
BIBLIOGRAPHY
171
INDEX
183
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Bonnie J. Morris is Visiting Assistant Professor at George Washington University. Her previous work includes The High School Scene in the Fifties: Voices from West L.A.

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