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Judaism and Gender

From contemporary controversies over women’s prayer at the Western Wall to the dramatic growth of new rituals and practices inspired by Jewish feminism, gender plays a critical role in shaping Jewish religiosity and political life today. This course examines how gender has shaped Jewish culture and religious practice throughout history. It will trace the construction of gender in the rabbinic period, examining formative traditions of law, practice, and theology that shaped Jewish ideas of womanhood, masculinity, and androgyny. Students will also explore modern transformations of Jewish life: new feminist rituals and religious practices, diverse expressions of gender in contemporary Jewish theology, the rise of queer Jewish culture, and the way transgender Jews are shaping new conceptions of Jewish gender. This course (THEO 066) is taught by Julia Watts Belser as a Doyle Seminar (small upper-level classes that foster deepened student learning about diversity and difference through research and dialogue).

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Julia Watts Belser

Senior Research Fellow
Department of Theology and Religious Studies

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