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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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(p.252) Seven Conclusion
Challenge and Conformity

Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz

Liverpool University Press

This chapter presents the conclusions of the research and its wider implications for the study of Orthodox Jewish women. The study suggests that three subgroups — haredi, Modern Orthodox, and traditionalist — exist, and that different patterns of belief, practice, and world-view characterize each group. Individual women from the American and Israeli Orthodox spheres, and British women who have spent significant periods of time in either country, form a disproportionately high percentage of those advocating change and greater participation for Orthodox women in the UK. Haredi women generally adhere to well-defined ideologies that reject Western liberal influences. In contrast, Modern Orthodox women have responded positively to Western feminist influences. They seek a compromise between shifting gender roles in Western culture and halakhic restrictions on women's ritual performance, rather than full egalitarianism. They tend to expect both greater male participation in the non-ritual aspects of the domestic sphere and greater female participation in the ritual aspects of the public sphere. Modern Orthodox women are also the most vocal in expressing dissatisfaction with the current status of and opportunities for Orthodox women, and often actively seek change. Many women believe that their role is actually more important than that of men. Women preserve a surprisingly wide spectrum of traditional customs and beliefs, many tolerated rather than approved of or promoted by the religious establishment, and most linked to the protection of their families. They show remarkable commitment to continuing these practices, even when these are labelled as 'superstitions' or are devalued by some religious authorities.

Keywords:   haredi Jewish women, Modern Orthodox women, traditionalist Jewish women, Jewish ideologies, Western feminist influences, halakhic restrictions, Jewish rituals, Jewish tradition, Orthodox Jewish women

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