New Article: Stadler, Exploring Body Rituals at the Tomb of Mary in Jerusalem

Stadler, Nurit. “Land, Fertility Rites and the Veneration of Female Saints: Exploring Body Rituals at the Tomb of Mary in Jerusalem.” Anthropological Theory 15.3 (2015): 293-316.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1463499615570779

 

Abstract

This article explores the connections between rituals, embodiment, and territorial claims by taking stock of Christian Orthodox rites at the Tomb of Mary in Jerusalem. As part of a comprehensive ethnography of this shrine, I have examined a wide array of body-based female practices that revolve around Mary’s tomb. By rejuvenating embodied practices that are associated with fertility, parturition and maternity, devotees enlist the grotto’s womb-like interior as a platform for kissing, touching, crawling, bending, and other physical acts of devotion that make for a powerful body-based experience. As demonstrated herein, the mimetic journey of a fetus/pilgrim through this womb-tomb expanse elicits a sense of rebirth, which is analogous to reclaiming the land and establishing a “motherly” alternative to the masculine and bellicose disposition in Israel/Palestine.

 

 

New Article: Rosenberg-Friedman | Ben-Gurion and the ‘Demographic Threat’

Rosenberg-Friedman, Lilach. “David Ben-Gurion and the ‘Demographic Threat’: His Dualistic Approach to Natalism, 1936–63.” Middle Eastern Studies 51.5 (2015): 742-66.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00263206.2014.979803

 

Abstract

This article illuminates one of the many facet of Ben-Gurion’s leadership that had an impact on his public image – his stance on fertility and childbirth, during the years 1936–63. The article outlining Ben-Gurion’s thoughts on the birthrate in Mandatory Palestine and the State of Israel, analyse the developments in his views over the years and the reasons for it. His perception of the Jewish national importance of boosting the birthrate grew over time in keeping with historical developments and the soaring natural increase of the Arabs. In the first stage, births were important to him due to the need to create a Jewish majority that would pave the way for a Jewish state. In the second stage, once this goal had been achieved, it was out of concern for the security and stability of the state – in this stage, however, he built his leadership as a prime minister of all Israel citizens, including the Arabs. The analysis demonstrates, therefore, that Ben-Gurion’s approach was characterized by dualism. The reasons for this dualism as well as Ben-Gurion’s image as a ‘godfather of fertility’ are the focal point of this article.

New Article: Ebenstein, Changing the Cost of Children and Fertility: Evidence from the Israeli Kibbutz

Ebenstein, Avraham, Moshe Hazan, and Avi Simhon. “Changing the Cost of Children and Fertility: Evidence from the Israeli Kibbutz.” The Economic Journal (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12240

 

Abstract

Prior to 1996, Israelis in collective communities (kibbutzim) shared the costs of raising children equally. This paper examines the impact of privatizing costs of children on the fertility behaviour of young couples. Exploiting variation in parental cost sharing across kibbutzim, we estimate that lifetime fertility declined by 0.65 children. We also examine the exit decisions of members, and find that couples were most likely to leave the kibbutz if they were either higher income or lower fertility. This pattern is also observed among Israeli emigrants, in which higher educated and lower fertility couples are more likely to leave Israel.

 

ToC: Israel Studies 20.2 (2015); Special Section: Bodies In Question

Israel Studies 20.2 (2015) Table of Contents:

 

Special Section: Bodies In Question

Wars of the Wombs: Struggles Over Abortion Policies in Israel (pp. 1-26)

Rebecca Steinfeld

Halutzah or Beauty Queen? National Images of Women in Early Israeli Society (pp. 27-52)

Julie Grimmeisen

‘Re-orient-ation’: Sport and the Transformation of the Jewish Body and Identity (pp. 53-75)

Yotam Hotam

‘Uniting the Nation’s Various Limbs into a National Body’ the Jerusalem People’s House (pp. 76-109)

Esther Grabiner

 

Articles

The Test of Maritime Sovereignty: The Establishment of the Zim National Shipping Company and the Purchase of the Kedmah, 1945–1952 (pp. 110-134)

Kobi Cohen-Hattab

Budgeting for Ultra-Orthodox Education—The Failure of Ultra-Orthodox Politics, 1996–2006 (pp. 135-162)

Hadar Lipshits

The Mizrahi Sociolect in Israel: Origins and Development (pp. 163-182)

Yehudit Henshke

Review Essay: The Theoretical Normalization of Israel in International Relations(pp. 183-189)

[Reviews  of: The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers: When Hard-Liners Opt for Peace, by Yael S. Aronoff; Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel by Guy Ziv]

Brent E. Sasley

 

Notes on Contributors (pp. 190-191)

Guidelines for Contributors (pp. 192-194)

Lecture: Steinfeld, Struggles over Abortion Policies in Israel

War of the Wombs: Struggles over Abortion Policies in Israel

Dr Rebecca Steinfeld (Stanford)  

4pm on Thu 19 March in A113, Samuel Alexander Building (Building 67 on the campus map, see directions).

 

ABSTRACT: This presentation examines the historical and contemporary struggles that have led to the gap between the restrictions on, and availability of, abortion in Israel. It attributes this gap to the compromise necessitated by conflicts amongst competing policymakers, motivated by opposing viewpoints and interests, over the objectives and substance of abortion policies. Opposition to abortion stems primarily from demographic anxiety relating to both the Holocaust and the Muslim Arab-Jewish fertility differential in Israel/Palestine. Support for access to abortion stems from countervailing concerns about the implications of unrestrained fertility for women’s health, family welfare and social stability, as well as ‘qualitative’ interests in reproducing healthy children. Some feminists have also resisted attempts to render women’s wombs national vessels. This presentation explores the evolution of these struggles over four distinct historical periods, and assesses their impact on women’s reproductive experiences and rights.

SPEAKER: Dr Rebecca Steinfeld is a political scientist researching the politics of reproduction and genital alteration. She completed her PhD in Politics at the University of Oxford, and is now writing her first book, Wars of the Wombs: Struggles over Reproduction in Israel (Stanford University Press, forthcoming). She is also a BBC and Arts and Humanities Research Council ‘New Generation Thinker’ and Haaretz ‘Jewish Thinker.’ She has broadcast on BBC Radio 3, 4 and 5, regularly writes in Haaretz, and has published in The Guardian, The Independent, The Jewish Chronicle, The Jewish Quarterly, and Tablet Magazine.

Further information about the CJS research seminar programme and other Jewish Studies events at the University.

Cite: Okun and Kagya, Fertility Change among Post-1989 Immigrants to Israel from the Former Soviet Union

 

Okun, Barbara S. Shlomit Kagya. “Fertility Change among Post-1989 Immigrants to Israel from the Former Soviet Union.” International Migration Review 46.4 (2012): 792–827.

 

URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/imre.12001/abstract

 

 

Abstract

Research on the evolution of immigrant fertility patterns has focused on the expected reduction in fertility among immigrants from high fertility, less developed countries who arrive in relatively low-fertility developed societies. The current research considers a different context in which immigrants from the low-fertility Former Soviet Union arrive in a relatively high-fertility setting in Israel. This research context allows us to test various theories of immigrant fertility, which cannot normally be distinguished empirically. Results from Cox multivariate regressions of parity-specific progression do not support assimilation theory, which would predict an increase in fertility following migration, in this context. We interpret the very low fertility rates of the FSU immigrants in Israel, relative to all relevant comparison groups, in terms of the economic uncertainty and hardship experienced during a difficult transition period by immigrants who have high aspirations for social mobility in their destination society.