The rules that govern Jewish Orthodox women's bodies, in particular those of ritual purity and immersion, are often criticized as patriarchal and an expression of oppression or domination. This study challenges the structuralist analysis of the regimen of ritual purity by examining how religious women themselves live and experience this system. The authors interviewed 30 Orthodox Jewish women living in Israel who observe these rituals in an effort to hear their experiences. The women's expression of their experiences moved beyond the conventional, schematic abstractions of the oppression-empowerment dichotomy into a multitextured range of responses. This article presents the ways in which they voiced this multiplicity of feelings and experiences.
- Jewish religious rites
- Women's ritual