April 9th, 2010 | For more on this event, please visit: bit.ly/aUYK5F
Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs | Georgetown University

Jewish feminism has existed in many forms since the 19th century, but it took a particular turn during the late 1960s in response to the early stirrings of second wave American feminism. Its effects were more radical and far reaching within Judaism than any previous movement because it challenged fundamental assumptions about gender and Jewish law that were grounded in the western enlightenment. This paper examines the ways in which gendered boundaries have challenged efforts to create American Jewish practices since the late 19th century and why Jewish feminism(s) continues to complicate, rather than resolve, the challenge. Riv-Ellen Prell engages in a discussion on the meaning of equality in a pluralist system in order to understand the cultural dynamics of boundaries. The paper draws on both ethnographic studies of American Jewish women in egalitarian Jewish communities and Jewish feminist writing about equality.


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