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Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 112–136 | Cite as

Reflections on queen Esther: The politics of Jewish Ethnography

  • Ayala Fader
Article

Keywords

Jewish Identity Jewish Woman Sacred Text Contemporary JEWRY Interpretive Framework 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    The broader research on which this article is based investigates language socialization and bilingualism, gender, and embodiment among hasidic women and children. For recent formulations of the language socialization research paradigm, see Kulick, Don and Bambi B. Schieffelin, 2004. “Language socialization” inA Companion to Linguistic Anthropology. A. Duranti, ed., p.349–368. (Maiden, Mass., Blackwell). For publications of my research, see Fader, Ayala, 2001, “Literacy, bilingualism and gender in a Hasidic community,”Linguistics and Education 12(3), p. 261-283. Fader, Ayala, 2006. “Learning faith: Language socialization in a Hasidic community,”Language in Society (35)2, p. 207–229. Fader, Ayala, in press. “Redeeming sacred sparks: Linguistic syncretism and gendered language shift among Hasidic Jews,”Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 17(1).Google Scholar
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    Hayim Soloveitchik writes about non-hasidic Haredim in North America; however, he suggests (and I agree) that many of his arguments also hold for hasidic Jews here. See Soloveitchik, Hayim, 1994. “Rupture and reconstruction: The transformation of contemporary orthodoxy,” inTradition 28(4), p. 64–130.Google Scholar
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    I have not heard hasidic women in Brooklyn use the term. They call themselveshasidish (hasidic),frum (religious), orhaymish (homey). See also Glinert, Lewis, and Miriam Isaacs, eds., 1999. “Pious voices: The Language of Ultra-Orthodox Jews,” inInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language. Special volume, 138.Google Scholar
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    Ethnographic studies of hasidic Jews have been carried out in Canada, Israel, and New York. For Canada, see, Shaffir William, 1972.Life in a Religious Community: The Lubavitcher Chassidim in Montreal. Toronto, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston of Canada; and Shaffir, William, 1995. “Boundaries and self-presentation among the Hasidim: A study in identity maintenance,” in J. Belcove-Shalin, ed., p. 31–68. For New York, see Boyarin, Jonathan, 2002. “Circumscribing constitutional identities,” inPowers of Diaspora, J. Boyarin and D. Boyarin, eds. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, p. 105–157; Kamen, Mark, 1985.Growing Up Hasidic: Education and Socialization in the Bobover Hasidic Community. New York, AMS Press; Koskoff, Ellen 2001.Music in Lubavitcher Life. Urbana and Chicago, University of Illinois Press; Kranzler, George, 1995. “The economic revitalization of the Hasidic community of Williamsburg,” in J. Belcove-Shalin, ed., p. 181–204; Levine, Stephanie Wellen, 2003.Mystics, Mavericks and Merrymakers: An Intimate Journey among Hasidic Girls. New York, NYU Press; Morris, Morris, 1998.Lubavitcher Women in America: Identity and Activism in the Post-War Era. Albany, SUNY Press; Rubin, Israel, 1972.Satmar: Island in the City. Chicago, Quadrangle Books. For Israel see El-Or, Tamar, 1994.Educated and Ignorant. Boulder, Lynne Riemer Press; Friedman, Menachem, 1990. “Jewish zealots: Conservative versus innovative,” inReligious Radicalism and Politics in the Middle East. E. Sivan and M. Friedman, eds. Albany, SUNY Press, p. 127–142; Heilman, Samuel C, 1999.Defenders of the Faith: Inside Ultra-Orthodox Jewry. Berkeley, University of California Press; Kahn, Susan M., 2002. “Rabbis and reproduction: The social uses of new reproductive technologies among ultraorthodox Jews in Israel,” inInterpreting Fertility, M. Inhorn and F. Van Balen, eds. Berkeley, University of California Press, p. 52–71.Google Scholar
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  20. 20.
    Based on Tractate Megillah in the Babylonian Talmud.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Mrs. Silver uses Hasidic Yiddish. Yiddish and English are the vernaculars in this community. Liturgical Hebrew/Aramaic is the language of prayer. Yiddish is transcribed from its Hebrew orthography using a modified version of the YIVO system (see Weinreich, Uriel, 1990.College Yiddish. New York, Columbia University Press). This was done to best represent the Yiddish spoken by the hasidim with whom I worked. Throughout the article Yiddish and Hebrew are italicized. Hasidic Yiddish includes a large number of borrowings from English which have become part of Hasidic Yiddish. To represent these borrowings I underline and italicize them. In girls’ education, Yiddish is the vernacular in the morning in classrooms where religious subjects are taught. In the afternoon, English is the medium for the study of secular subjects. For an in-depth analysis of the Yiddish and English spoken by community members see Fader, Ayala, in press. “Redeeming sacred sparks: Syncretic language and gendered language shift in a Hasidic community,” inJournal of Linguistic Anthropology 17(1).Google Scholar
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    For a discussion of materialism see also Kranzler, George, 1961.Williamsburg: A Jewish Community in Transition. New York, Phillip Feldheim. Thanks to an anonymous reviewer for pointing this out.Google Scholar
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    The name is a pseudonym.Google Scholar
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© Springer 2007

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  • Ayala Fader

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