Women As Ritual Expert...
Women As Ritual Experts: The Religious Lives of Elderly Jewish Women in Jerusalem (American Folklore Society, New Series)
This ethnography explores the religious beliefs and rituals of a group of elderly Jewish women, originally from Kurdistan and Yemen, who now live in Jerusalem. Sered visited the women in their homes and accompanied them on trips to holy tombs, local ethnic synagogues, and Judaica classes. She finds that, though mainly illiterate and excluded from formal religious practices...more
Kindle Edition, 192 pages
(first published January 2nd 1992)
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Susan Sered's ethnography of Kurdish elderly Jewish women at a Jerusalem Senior Citizen's Day Center is a fascinating read. In a breezy 142 pages she relates the stories and rituals of these devout Jews to show how they have developed their own female-oriented "little tradition" within broader patriarchal Judaism. The main strength (and invitation) of the book is summed up in her concluding sentence: "As scholars learn to shift attention from what men and texts say about women to what women say...more
This book is terrific. I read it as part of a college anthropology course about religion, and I really enjoyed it. She makes a great case about the ways in which women play a very big ritual part in Jewish culture -- a culture which is traditionally seen as being male-dominated. A very interesting read.