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Next Year I Will Know More

Literacy and Identity among Young Orthodox Women in Israel

By Tamar El-Or
Translated by Haim Watzman

Anthropology, Education, Gender, Jewish Studies, Religion, Women's Studies

Raphael Patai Series in Jewish Folklore and Anthropology

Hardback
Published: May 2002
ISBN: 9780814327722
Pages: 336 Size: 6x9
eBOOK
Published: May 2002
ISBN: 9780814337783
Review

Tamar El-Or is the foremost anthropologist working on the lives of religious Jewish women… In exploring the spread of intensive Judaic studies among orthodox women as an institutional, social, and cultural phenomenon, she explores one of the most remarkable developments in contemporary Judaism.

— Matti Bunzi

In traditional Jewish societies of previous centuries, literacy education was mostly a male prerogative. Even more recently, women have not been taught the traditional male curriculum that includes the Talmud and midrashic books. But the situation is changing, partly because of the special emphasis that modern Judaism places on learning its philosophy and traditions and on broadening its circle of knowers. In Next Year I Will Know More, the distinguished Israeli anthropologist Tamar El-Or explores the spreading practice of intensive Judaic studies among women in the religious Zionist community. Feminist literacy, notes El-Or, will alter gender relations and the construction of gender identities of the members of the religious community. This in turn could effect changes in Jewish theology and law. In an engaging narrative that offers rare insights into a traditional society in the midst of a modern world, the author points to a community that will be more feminist—and even more religious.

Tamar El-Or is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Tamar El-Or is the foremost anthropologist working on the lives of religious Jewish women. . . . In exploring the spread of intensive Judaic studies among orthodox women as an institutional, social, and cultural phenomenon, she explores one of the most remarkable developments in contemporary Judaism.

– Matti Bunzi, University of Ilinois at Urbana-Champaign

In this fascinating, provocative anthropological study, young orthodox Jewish women from Israel's Religious-Zionist sector are interviewed and observed at the Midrasha--women's study institute--of Bar Illan University as they endeavor to achieve educational parity with men.

– Choice