1. People of the Book, Women of the Body: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Women's Reproductive Literacy

The Religious Body Imagined - Pamela D. Winfield

Michal Raucher [+-]
Rutgers University
Michal Raucher is an assistant professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. Her research lies at the intersection of Israel studies, Jewish ethics, and the anthropology of women in Judaism. As a Fulbright Fellow, Dr. Raucher conducted ethnographic research on reproductive ethics of Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jewish women in Israel. She has been awarded grants from the Wenner Gren Foundation for anthropological research, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the Crown Family Foundation. Drawing on this research, Michal will publish her first book, Birthing Ethics: Reproductive Ethics among Haredi Women in Jerusalem with Indiana University Press in 2020. Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty she was an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati. Michal has degrees from the Jewish Theological Seminary, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate from Northwestern University. She is currently researching the ordination of Orthodox Jewish women in Israel and America with the support of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, the American Academy of Religion, and the University of Cincinnati.


Michal Raucher’s “People of the Book, Women of the Body: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Women’s Reproductive Literacy” relies on two years of ethnographic research among Haredi mothers in Jerusalem. Her research reveals that the women’s lived experience of repeated pregnancies cultivates a kind of embodied knowledge and self-reliant, self-validating authority that no longer consults the normative rabbinic and male-dominated authority systems that regulate all other sectors of Haredi life. In so doing, Raucher expands our understanding of embodied female agency in a tradition that has long been assumed to subjugate women.

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Raucher, Michal. 1. People of the Book, Women of the Body: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Women's Reproductive Literacy. The Religious Body Imagined. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 13-34 Jun 2024. ISBN 9781781799727. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=39645. Date accessed: 18 Apr 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.39645. Jun 2024

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