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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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The View from the Kitchen: Women’s ‘Official’ Life in the Family

The View from the Kitchen: Women’s ‘Official’ Life in the Family

(p.177) Five The View from the Kitchen: Women’s ‘Official’ Life in the Family
Challenge and Conformity

Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz

Liverpool University Press

This chapter covers official domestic practices. Orthodox Judaism is firmly rooted in the world of everyday action: several central commandments and their halakhic elaboration include activities such as the preparation and consumption of food, the observance of the weekly sabbath and numerous festivals, dress, education, and the recital of blessings before and after eating and in other daily contexts. The home is explicitly designated as a sacred sphere, to a greater extent than in Christian and general British culture. The conception, nurturing, and education of children are often seen as central to the Jewish woman's role, even though no formal commandments are entailed. Most Orthodox women see their domestic role in very different, more nuanced, and complex terms, viewing it as central to their identity and to Jewish continuity, but not as the only sphere in which they should be active religiously. Many of them, particularly the Modern Orthodox, have indeed internalized feminist arguments and seek to extend their religious lives outside the boundaries of the home, and to take a more active religious role within it, but they all share the conviction that the creation of a Jewish home and the raising of children to be good human beings and faithful Jews is a task of vital importance.

Keywords:   Jewish domestic practices, sabbath, Jewish women, Jewish feminists, Jewish parenting, Jewish home, Orthodox Judaism, Orthodox women

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