Before 1985, depictions of ultra-Orthodox Jews in popular
American culture were rare, and if they did appear, in films such
as Fiddler on the Roof or within the novels of Chaim
Potok, they evoked a nostalgic vision of Old World tradition. Yet
the ordination of women into positions of religious leadership and
other controversial issues have sparked an increasingly visible and
voluble culture war between America's ultra-Orthodox and
non-Orthodox Jews, one that has found a particularly creative voice
in literature, media, and film.
Unpacking the work of Allegra Goodman, Tova Mirvis, Pearl
Abraham, Erich Segal, Anne Roiphe, and others, as well as
television shows and films such as A Price Above Rubies,
Nora L. Rubel investigates the choices non-haredi Jews have made as
they represent the character and characters of ultra-Orthodox Jews.
In these artistic and aesthetic acts, Rubel recasts the war over
gender and family and the anxieties over acculturation,
Americanization, and continuity. More than just a study of
Jewishness and Jewish self-consciousness, Doubting the
Devout will speak to any reader who has struggled to balance
religion, family, and culture.
Subjects: Religion, Language & Literature, Film Studies
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