Connected to Community: Jewish Ritual, Meaning, and Gender at Brandeis University
Author(s)Eisen, Rachel Elizabeth
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AbstractWhat rituals do actively-involved Jewish undergraduate students practice? What is meaningful to them and why? What role does gender play? This thesis seeks to answer those questions. The thesis is based primarily on qualitative research, consisting of long- form interviews with undergraduate students at Brandeis University. This exploratory study addresses the intersection of the study of American Judaism, ritual studies, and gender and Judaism. The non-generalizable findings suggest that participants frequently tinker with practices and affiliations to mix-and-match different aspects of Jewish life, and that community is highly important. These findings support existing research theories about ritual and community and religious life among emerging adults. In addition, findings suggest that community may be so important to participants that they are willing to engage with discomfort and tension around issues of gender in order to practice their Judaism in spaces of meaningful community.
Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences