The liberation of widowhood

Susan Starr Sered

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This article examines an important aspect of the religious world of a group of elderly, pious, Kurdish Jewish women in Jerusalem. While previous scholars have stressed the connection between menopause (with the resultant loss in fertility and so menstrual pollution) and the increased religious inolvement of old women, I argue that the broadening of the religious lives that these women have experienced in old age has been above all connected to widowhood. The women of this study see old age (and more specifically widowhood) as a time for deepening and expanding their religious lives. Now that they are no longer busy with the demands of husbands and small children, they can devote increased time and energy to religious pursuits. Specifically, the focus of their religious world has shifted from the domestic to the public sphere. The synagogue, senior citizen's day center, cemeteries, and holy tombs are the most important public, sacred spaces frequented by the women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-150
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1987


  • Israel
  • Kurdish Jews
  • religion
  • widows


Dive into the research topics of 'The liberation of widowhood'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this