New Article: Taragin-Zeller, Modesty among Female Ultra-Orthodox Teenagers in Israel

Taragin-Zeller, Lea. “Modesty for Heaven’s Sake: Authority and Creativity among Female Ultra-Orthodox Teenagers in Israel.” Nashim 26 (2014): 75-96.

 

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/nashim/v026/26.taragin-zeller.html

 

Abstract

The ethnographic research that I conducted at a Bais Yaakov seminary in Jerusalem demonstrates how ultra-Orthodox female teachers and their teenage pupils structure an ideology of modesty through the reinterpretation of canonical texts on modesty. In this study, I show that modesty is a creative sphere informed by two trends: the adoption of modern patterns of behavior, and religious innovation. The exegesis these women give to the texts upon which they base their practice redefines the field of modesty in two primary ways: (1) It transforms modesty from a rigid halachic dictate into a dynamic feminine “mission” that is connected to the sphere of virtues; and (2) it replaces the socio-masculine discourse upon which this observance is based with a divine imperative. This phenomenon bears witness to a shift in the types of authority that these ultra-Orthodox teenage girls are willing to accept, since the only justification they accept for their modesty practices is that of personal devotion to God.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s