Embodying Herself: Folklore of the Feminist Body in the Jewish Renewal Movement


Amy Milligan (Old Dominion University)

This study considers Jewish feminist reclamation of the literal physical body in Jewish ritual life, with particular attention to the innovations of the Renewal Movement. I contend that Jewish Renewal feminists, existing on the fringes of both secular and religious culture, articulate their intersecting identities through the literal embodiment of their Jewishness. By engaging symbol sets that had previously been denied to women, they use their bodies as a place of political subversion. In doing so, they not only claim space for themselves in ritual and religious life, but they also pave the way for the next generation of Jewish women.

Part of 22-01 New Approaches to Jewish Folklore and Ethnology, Tuesday, October 19, 11:15 am–12:45 pm