Contemporary glimpses into the ultra-orthodox Jewish community have often been filtered through a series of misleading narratives generated and exacerbated by strong emotional sentiments and misguided intuitions, based on little direct scientific observation. Especially skewed are perceptions of ultra-orthodox women, which range from romanticized views of them as sublime and pure to harsh criticism toward the alleged oppression under which they live. Both viewpoints lead to policies that limit progress and potentially harm the ultra-orthodox community.
The purpose of this conference is to apply a structured, academic lens toward ultra-orthodox women’s lives and experience to forge a body of knowledge that can help policy-makers better understand the needs of this community and ultimately increase its prosperity and well-being. Interdisciplinary and scientific study of ultra-orthodox women is a timely imperative, given the rampant process of ultra-orthodox merge into Israeli society, and it will also provide tools to evaluate the changing status process these women undergo within their own community and the potentialities it carries to current and future Israeli society as a whole.
To this end, Princeton University and the Israel Institute will host a convening of varied researchers to contemplate questions of gender, poverty, authority, economy, legal status, and social norms. It will host prominent researchers as well as practitioners researching the field. We will look into the implications of ultra-orthodox women’s seemingly incongruous roles as caregiver to families with large numbers of children on one hand and active participants in the labor force, changing the face of modern Israel, on the other hand. Exploration of the meanings and ramifications of the improvement of their earning capacity and their entrance to the high-tech industry will be advanced. Political initiatives and agency in the public ultra-orthodox space will be analyzed from a legal perspective, conceptualizing these issues as human rights related.
The conference is intended for academics from a wide variety of disciplines as well as for philanthropic organizations interested in engagement with the Ultra-Orthodox community.
- Yoram Danziger, Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel (2007-2018)
- Yofi Tirosh, Dean, Sapir College Law School
- Michal Frankel, Chair of Department of Sociology and Anthropology, The Hebrew University
This one-day symposium is co-sponsored by Princeton’s Program in Judaic Studies, the University Center for Human Values, the Kahneman-Treisman Center for Behavioral Science & Public Policy, and the Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies; as well as the Israel Institute.
Questions should be addressed to M. Nechumi Yaffe at [email protected].