Cover image for Keeping Women in Their Digital Place: The Maintenance of Jewish Gender Norms Online By Ruth Tsuria

Keeping Women in Their Digital Place

The Maintenance of Jewish Gender Norms Online

Ruth Tsuria

Coming in May

$109.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09718-3
Coming in May

200 pages
6" × 9"
2024

Keeping Women in Their Digital Place

The Maintenance of Jewish Gender Norms Online

Ruth Tsuria

In Orthodox Judaism, Halacha—the legal code derived from the Torah and the Talmud—constructs and determines Jewish life, informing not only practices of prayer and holiday observance but also financial behavior, personal relationships, and gender roles. Given the central importance of rabbinical Halachic guidance for everyday Jewish life, the unregulated spaces of the internet have posed a critical challenge to Orthodox communities in recent decades, particularly regarding norms around gender and sex.

 

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In Orthodox Judaism, Halacha—the legal code derived from the Torah and the Talmud—constructs and determines Jewish life, informing not only practices of prayer and holiday observance but also financial behavior, personal relationships, and gender roles. Given the central importance of rabbinical Halachic guidance for everyday Jewish life, the unregulated spaces of the internet have posed a critical challenge to Orthodox communities in recent decades, particularly regarding norms around gender and sex.

In Keeping Women in Their Digital Place, Ruth Tsuria explores how Orthodox Jewish communities in the United States and Israel have used “digital enclaves”—online safe havens created specifically for their denominations—to renegotiate traditional values in the face of taboo discourse encountered online. Combining a personal narrative with years of qualitative analysis, Tsuria examines how discussions in blogs and forums and on social media navigate issues of modesty, dating, marriage, intimacy, motherhood, and feminism. Unpacking the complexity of religious uses of the internet, Tsuria shows how the participatory qualities of digital spaces have been used both to challenge accepted norms and—more pervasively—to reinforce traditional and even extreme attitudes toward gender and sexuality.

Original and engaging, this book will appeal to media, feminist, and religious studies scholars and students, particularly those interested in religion in the digital age and Orthodox Jewish communities.

Ruth Tsuria is Assistant Professor of Communication at Seton Hall University. She is the coeditor of Digital Religion: Understanding Religious Practice in Digital Media and Media and Power in International Contexts: Perspectives on Agency and Identity.