By Karla Goldman
Past the Synagogue Gallery recounts the emergence of recent roles for American Jewish girls in public worship and synagogue lifestyles. Karla Goldman's examine of adjusting styles of lady religiosity is a narrative of acculturation, of alterations made to slot Jewish worship into American society. Goldman specializes in the 19th century. This used to be an period within which immigrant groups strove for middle-class respectability for themselves and their faith, even whereas fearing a lack of traditions and identification. For acculturating Jews a few practices, just like the ritual bathtub, fast disappeared. Women's conventional segregation from the carrier in screened women's galleries was once progressively changed by means of relations pews and combined choirs. by means of the tip of the century, with the emerging tide of Jewish immigration from Russia and jap Europe, the unfold of women's social and spiritual activism inside a community of enterprises introduced collective energy to the nation's validated Jewish group. all through those altering instances, even though, Goldman notes chronic ambiguous emotions in regards to the acceptable position of girls in Judaism, even between reformers. This account of the evolving non secular identities of yank Jewish girls expands our realizing of women's spiritual roles and of the Americanization of Judaism within the 19th century; it makes a necessary contribution to the heritage of faith in the US. (20010316)
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Additional info for Beyond the Synagogue Gallery: Finding a Place for Women in American Judaism (Religion Gender Studies)
Like the Jews of Germany, women had “received assurances of their capabilities for emancipation, without, however, being . . ” Einhorn and his committee suggested that women be given an equal part within Reform Judaism. Like Geiger, the Breslau report decried women’s exclusion from public expressions of Judaism. ” Despite the urgency of Einhorn’s report, no action was taken on its recommendations. 21 The most signiﬁcant practical effort by European maskilim to re- Copyright © 2000 The President and Fellows of Harvard College Jewish Women • 27 Ex a m Co py dress the lack of public status granted women by traditional Judaism was the introduction of conﬁrmation as a rite of passage for young Jews.
2 Still, despite the limitations of current knowledge, any inquiry into women’s experience of Judaism in the United States must at least consider the ways in which American Jewish experience differed from that of Jews in the countries that provided America’s immigrants. Such a preliminary consideration may suggest why public expressions of Judaism in America, but not in Europe, were so affected by the effort to incorporate new roles for women into the synagogue. 3 Comparison of European and American attempts to reconcile Jewish identity with the gendered expectations and patterns of their host societies can help to identify the relevant structural dynamics that shaped these different versions of modernizing Jewish experience.
As Sonneschein’s comment suggests, for many acculturated Jewish women in the United States, the observance of a respectable Judaism within the synagogue and the practice of benevolence outside it had displaced the customs that had long been at the core of female Jewish religiosity. Posttraditional Jewish communities in both the Old and New Worlds were challenged to formulate religious identities for women that would meet the expectations of the non-Jewish societies in which they lived. Women’s marginalization within public worship constituted one of the most obvious manifestations of Judaism’s resistance to such expectations in both American and European synagogues.
Beyond the Synagogue Gallery: Finding a Place for Women in American Judaism (Religion Gender Studies) by Karla Goldman