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Becoming Un-Orthodox: Stories of Ex-Hasidic Jews (Hardback)
  • Becoming Un-Orthodox: Stories of Ex-Hasidic Jews (Hardback)

Becoming Un-Orthodox: Stories of Ex-Hasidic Jews (Hardback)

Hardback 272 Pages / Published: 08/01/2015
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Leaving a religion is not merely a matter of losing or rejecting faith. For many, it involves dramatic changes of everyday routines and personal habits. Davidman bases her analysis on in-depth conversations with forty ex-Hasidic individuals. From these conversations emerge accounts of the great fear, angst, and sense of danger that come of leaving a highly bounded enclave community. Many of those interviewed spoke of feeling marginal in their own communities; of strain in their homes due to death, divorce, or their parents' profound religious differences; experienced sexual, physical, or verbal abuse; or expressed an acute awareness of gender inequality, the dissimilar lives of their secular relatives, and forbidden television shows, movies, websites, and books. Becoming Un-Orthodox draws much-needed attention to the vital role of the body and bodily behavior in religious practices. It is through physical rituals and routines that the members of a religion, particularly a highly conservative one, constantly create, perform, and reinforce the culture of the religion. Because of the many observances and daily rituals required by their faith, Hasidic defectors are an exemplary case study for exploring the centrality of the body in shaping, maintaining, and shedding religions. This book provides both a moving narrative of the struggles of Hasidic defectors and a compelling call for greater collective understanding of the complex significance of the body in society.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780199380503
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 524 g
Dimensions: 241 x 163 x 24 mm

Lynn Davidman offers us a window into the hearts and minds of young Jews who have left the world of ultra-Orthodoxy. Offering a range of reasons for their departure, they describe both their love and frustration with pious communities, and with the constrictions and, at times, lovelessness and abuse they experienced in their families. An excellent study of an important and growing phenomenon. * Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College *
This is the best-written and most insightful study yet of those who abandon Orthodoxy, breaking with the religious worlds in which they were raised. Award-winning sociologist Lynn Davidman highlights the role played by rituals of the body in the whole process of becoming un-Orthodox. Her broad lens and rich comparative insights elevate this study into a major contribution to the study of religion. * Jonathan D. Sarna, President, Association for Jewish Studies *
This is a beautifully-written and important book. It is not only a masterful contribution to scholarship on contemporary Judaism, but the rare and moving story of those who have turned away from the Jewish Orthodox faith, losing the only identities and communities they have ever known and endeavoring to reinvent and reconstruct them. * Robert Wuthnow, Andlinger Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion, Princeton University *
A learned, imaginative study of defectors from Orthodox Jewish communities; Davidman's analysis of identity narratives and the process of transformation is original and provocative. * Joyce Antler, Samuel Lane Professor of American Jewish History and Culture, Brandeis University *

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