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Challenge and ConformityThe Religious Lives of Orthodox Jewish Women$
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Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941718

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941718.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

Setting the Scene: The Jewish Landscape

Setting the Scene: The Jewish Landscape

(p.37) Two Setting the Scene: The Jewish Landscape
Challenge and Conformity

Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the historical and sociological context of Orthodox Jewish women in London, and applies concepts of community to analyse the religious geography of Orthodox Jews in Britain. The term 'community' is used by British Jews, generally in one of two distinct senses: the first, refers to all Jews who identify as Jews and participate in Jewish activities, the second, indicates a particular subgroup, the members of a particular synagogue. Most Jews who identify as belonging to the Jewish community also belong to several of these 'subcommunities,' all of which overlap with family and social circles within the Jewish and wider communities, and most of which are not mutually exclusive. Community affiliation thus exists at several levels and in several modes, with an individual's particular combination of networks and community memberships providing basic parameters of his or her individual Jewish identity. This complex, layered character of modern Jewish identity complicates the definition of the term 'Orthodox'. Current denominations include Liberal Judaism and Reform Judaism; Masorti Judaism; and Orthodox Judaism. Earlier tensions between traditional expectations for women and new ideas about their role in the wider society were reflected in developments within the British Jewish community: the foundation of Liberal Judaism. Orthodoxy has been slow to respond. The very word 'feminist' carries negative connotations in most Orthodox communities, even among women who profess strongly feminist views in economic and political matters.

Keywords:   British Jewish community, London, Orthodox Jewish women, Orthodox Jews, individual Jewish identity, Orthodox Judaism, Liberal Judaism, Reform Judaism, Masorti Judaism, Jewish activities

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