1st Edition

Jews and Feminism The Ambivalent Search for Home

By Laura Levitt Copyright 1997
    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    240 Pages
    by Routledge

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    By interrogating America's promise of a home for Jews as citizens of the liberal state, Jews and Feminism questions the very terms of this social "contract". Maintaining that Jews, women, and Jewish women are not necessarily secure within this construction of the state, Laura Levitt links this contractual construction of belonging and acceptance to legacies of marriage as a contractual home for Jewish women.

    Exploring the immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe for America, as well as their desire to make this country their permanent home, Levitt raises questions about the search for stability in specific Jewish religious and cultural traditions which is linked to the liberal academy as well as feminist study, thus offering an account of an ambivalent Jewish feminist embrace of America as home.

    Preface The Journey Homeintroduction -- HomeOne Embraces Part One Jewish Women at Home: Rabbinic Judaism, Liberal Jewish TheologyTwo Reading KetubbotThree Becoming LiberalFour The Sexual ContractFive Covenant or Contract?: Marriage as TheologySix Marriage as Feminist Theology? Part Two Feminist Study: Reconfiguring Jewish IdentitySeven Feminist Dreams of HomeEight Jews in Feminist StudyPart Three Ambivalent EmbracesNine Returning to AtlantaTen Claiming AmericaEleven What's in a Name?Conclusion Writing Home


    Laura Levitt is Assistant Professor of Religion at Temple University where she also teaches in the Women's Studies Department. She is co-editor of Judaism Since Gender, also available from Routledge.

    "Levitt's ability to range among the theologies of Borowitz and Plaskow, feminist theorists, and tractate Ketuboot reshapes the reader's understanding of the meaning of inclusion and equality...It is particularly impressive that Levitt can deliver such incisive and global critiques and still maintain models of hope and liberation." -- Shofar
    "Laura Levitt's Jews and Feminism crosses boundaries and breaks rules to offer a visionary possibility for a feminist, Jewish cultural studies. This genuinely experimental work juxtaposes theology, a feminist analysis of liberalism, and a Jewish cultural analysis of emancipation to construct an original reading of being a Jew and a Jewish woman in the United States. Levitt's ability to create dialogues between feminist theory, the critical study of identity, and Jewish texts in order to investigate the meaning of "home" makes this work a major contribution to women's studies, cultural studies and Jewish studies. Jews and Feminism announces that Jewish, feminist cultural studies has come of age." -- Riv-Ellen Prell University of Minnesota
    "Laura Levitt's Jews and Feminism is an eminently modern reading of the gender asymmetries that haunt the heart of Judaism. Original and imaginative, personal and theoretical, Levitt challenges her readers to reconsider what it means to be a feminist and a Jew at the end of the twentieth century. This book may not answer all the questions posed by its provocative title, but it asks them." -- Nancy K. Miller, The Graduate School and Lehman College, CUNY
    "... an original and powerful contribution to Jewish feminist literature." -- Choice
    "... very subtle ... [Levitt] remind[s] us of the complex texture of the many ideas which make up our personal and cultural identity ... Coming from the cutting edge of feminist and cultural studies, Jews and Feminism forces us to recognize the very specific and local content of all that we do." -- David Blumenthal, Emory University