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Identity, Heroism and Religion in the Lives of Contemporary Jewish Women

Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz

What makes us what we are? How does our gender affect our identity? Who are our heroes and heroines and how do they mould the decisions we make and the way we live our lives? In what ways does our connection – or lack there of – to our birth religion shape our adult selves? These are just some of the questions which Identity, Heroism and Religion in the Lives of Contemporary Jewish Women addresses. In examining the lives and deaths of various Jewish women during the 20 th and 21 st centuries this study focuses on the dynamic by which they formed their identities at times of crisis, whether in pre-State Israel, during and after the Holocaust in liberated Europe, or throughout Israel’s formative years. As refugees, survivors, new immigrants or veteran citizens of a country these women’s lives are probed and analyzed in terms of their relationship to each other, to their surroundings, their past, their future, their ideologies, and their geographic and virtual communities, presenting us with a mosaic of contemporary Jewish women’s lives.

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Table of Contents 9

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9Table of Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Identity Chapter 1 Bridges Between Yesterday and Tomorrow: The Role of Diaspora Culture in the Stories of Fifth Aliyah Heroines . . . . . . 19 Chapter 2 The Rescue of Jewish Girls and Teenage Young Women to England and the USA During the Holocaust from the Gendered Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Chapter 3 The Identity of Women in the She’erit Hapletah: Personal and Gendered Identity as Determinants in their Rehabilitation, Immigration and Resettlement . . . . . . . . . 93 Heroism Chapter 4 Teacher, Tiller, Soldier, Spy: Women’s Representation in Israeli Military Memorials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 Chapter 5 Founding Myths and Heroic Icons: Reflections on the Funerals of Theodor Herzl and Hannah Szenes . . . . . . . . . . 169 Chapter 6 The Lives and Deaths of Female Military Casualties in Israel During the 1950s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205 10 Chapter 7 Female Icons of the Zionist Movement: The Making of a National Heroine in Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237 Religion Chapter 8 Pioneers, Teachers, and Mothers: Ultra Orthodox Women among She’erit Hapletah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275 Chapter 9 Reflections on the Study of Women Status and Identity in the Religious Zionist Movement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 313 Chapter 10 Frum Surfing: Orthodox Jewish Women’s Internet Forums As a Historical and Cultural Phenomenon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 337 Chapter 11 ‘It is Our Custom from Der alter Heim’: The Role of Orthodox Jewish Women’s Internet Forums in Reinventing and Transmitting Historical and Religious Tradition . . . . . . . . . 383 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 433 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 467

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