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New Perspectives on Jewish Gender in Antiquity and Today

Hosted By: Association for Jewish Studies

What defines Jewishness? What defines a Rabbi? How does a person qualify as one or the other and what role does gender play in the process? These are the essential questions explored by the two presentations featured in this session. The first presentation by Joe Sakurai of Teikyo University of Science in Tokyo looks at passages from talmudic literature on conversion to propose that patrilineal descent is far more important to rabbinic notions of Jewish kinship, descent, and ethnicity than has previously been recognized. The second presentation by Moria Ran Ben Hai, Rabbanit of Pelech High School in Tel Aviv, looks at the phenomenon of the school rabbanit in contemporary Israel, paying particular attention to the variety of titles used for them and by them as an index of the recognition accorded to women’s religious leadership. The session ranges from antiquity to today as it offers new perspectives on Jewishness, rabbinic culture, and gender.

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