Tradition and Equality in Jewish Marriage

Tradition and Equality in Jewish Marriage : Beyond the Sanctification of Subordination

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Often when people have become alienated from their religious backgrounds, they access their traditions through lifecycle events such as marriage. At times, modern values such as gender equality may be at odds with some of the traditions; many of which have always been in a state of flux in relationship to changing social, economic and political realities. Traditional Jewish marriage is based on the man acquiring the woman, which has symbolic and actual ramifications. Grounded in the traditional texts yet accessible, this book shows how the marriage is an acquisition and contextualises the gender hierarchy of marriage within the rabbinic exclusion of women from Torah study, the highest cultural practice and women's exemption from positive commandments. Melanie Landau offers two alternative models of partnership that partially or fully bypass the non-reciprocity of traditional Jewish marriage and that have their basis in the ancient rabbinic texts.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 17.78mm | 340.19g
  • Bloomsbury Academic
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1472533062
  • 9781472533067
  • 1,943,499

Table of contents

1. Laying the Table
2. The Legal Effects of Marriage
3. Rebellious Women and Husband-Owned Sexuality
4. Conditional Marriage
5. DerekhKiddushin (Quasi-Marriage)
Towards Tradition and Equality in Jewish Marriage
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Review quote

Melanie Landau's book combines an impressive grasp of traditional text and contemporary theory, with the courage to move beyond the parameters of the current discourse. In analysing the problem of traditional non-reciprocal marriage, and also non-reciprocal divorce, Landau is guided by both her scholarly training and her strong moral beliefs. This book reads both as an insightful analysis of the way that Jewish tradition more or less successfully wrestled with the issues of non-reciprocal marriage (and its corollary the agunah or chained wife), but also as a journal of the way that Landau wrestled with the questions of fidelity to that tradition. This book will be an important part of any future discussion of marriage in Judaism. -- Aryeh Cohen, Associate Professor of Rabbinic Literature at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University, USA Landau does an excellent job explaining the opinions and arguments of different rabbinic traditions over the ages. The book speaks to traditional women looking to understand Jewish law in light of their contemporary sensibilities. -- Rabbi Rachel Esserman * The Reporter Group *
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About Melanie Malka Landau

Melanie Landau is Lecturer in the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, Monash University, Australia. She has had extensive experience in community education and facilitating personal and group learning and transformation.
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