"They Must Join Us, There is No Other Way": Haredi Activism, The Battle Against Sexual Violence, And The Reworking Of Rabbinic Accountability
- Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues
- Indiana University Press
- Number 37, Fall 5781/ 2020
- pp. 66-86
- Additional Information
Over the last decade, ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) society in Israel has begun to counter sexual violence in ways and on a scale previously unimagined. The shift has been spearheaded by a heterogeneous network of haredi activists, professionals, community leaders and survivors, who are laboring to flag the issue on the community agenda as a high-priority social ill and to assist individuals and families in need. Pushing back against prevailing cultures of denial and silence, this groundbreaking movement works toward new possible scripts for communal accountability. Based on anthropological fieldwork underwritten by feminist sensibilities, I demonstrate that these anti-sexual violence initiatives are creating a venue for public criticism of rabbinic complicity and for the envisioning and enactment of new formations of rabbinic leadership. While this venue is not necessarily subversive in essence, the climate it helps foster is potentially critical, as these discussions expose and unpack taken-for-granted, unchallenged or opaque structures of rabbinic power and authority.