Arar, Khalid, and Tamar Shapira. “Hijab and Principalship: The Interplay between Belief Systems, Educational Management and Gender among Arab Muslim Women in Israel.” Gender and Education (early view; online first).
This paper discusses the decision of Muslim female principals in Israel to don the hijab following their appointment to school principalship. This research employed narrative life-story interviews to understand the women’s decision to alter their appearance and how this transition is connected to their role as female school principals in the indigenous Muslim community in Israel and the reaction they faced both in personal and professional spheres. The principals’ narratives elucidate that transition to wearing the hijab was a matter of choice and collective belonging; it empowers them and affected their leadership style, although it also provokes others’ resistance and reactions. Findings clarify the social and personal identity of Arab Muslim women school principals in Israel, and point to the need for consideration of traditional cultural contexts, to enrich managerial theory. This understanding also supports the argument that governmental and organizational policies and initiatives should recognize the diversity in Muslim women’s backgrounds and the dangers of privileging mainstream women’s perspectives.
The twentieth century witnessed an array of fresh models of Jewish women’s educational and religious leadership. Quite understandably, the majority of the scholarly focus has been on burgeoning egalitarian trends featured in the new roles for women within liberal Jewish denominations and among the Modern Orthodox. Yet increased appreciation for gendered perspectives within Jewish studies has also led to recognition that seemingly conventional female roles, once viewed as purely supportive in nature, have evolved into platforms for voicing uniquely feminine styles of Jewish authority. This article offers an initial portrayal and analysis of a relatively new phenomenon: the American female non-hasidic Haredi outreach activist. It does so, first, by locating these figures within overall trends of American Haredi Jewry as well as in relation to the broader phenomenon of Orthodox feminism. The central contention is that inasmuch as American Haredi Orthodoxy vehemently opposes many of the changes advanced by the Modern Orthodox sector, a “silent” revolution is actually taking place within its own elite frameworks. The instigation for the emergence of new religious leadership roles for Haredi women is the increasing focus of this sector on outreach to the non-observant, and the recognition that woman can be especially effective in these capacities. Yet such activities demand types of public behavior, often in mixed gender settings, that are inconsistent with the messages of strict modesty put forward within Haredi female education. Moreover, some of the female Haredi figures have begun to advance the notion that their functions are not merely vehicles for increasing engagement with Judaism, but actually represent a new empowered model of Orthodox women’s leadership and activism.
Rosenberg-Friedman, Lilach. “National Mission, Feminine Identity and Female Leadership in a Mythical Masculine Organization: The Story of Ada Sereni, Head of the Mossad: The Story of Ada Sereni, Head of the Mossad Le’aliyah in Italy during the 1940s.” Women’s Studies 43.5 (2014): 589-618.
Before the establishment of the Mossad, Israel’s mythological secret service agency (formed in 1949), another secretive organization operated in the region. This organization, known as the Mossad Le’Aliyah Bet (henceforth the Mossad), was responsible for helping Holocaust survivors immigrate illegally to Palestine. Few people are aware that a woman, Ada Sereni, headed the organizations’ important Italian division from July 1945 to May 1948, an intense period during the struggle for the establishment of the State of Israel. This article seeks to present the characteristics of Ada Sereni’s actions, the new identity she developed during this period, and her complex leadership style.