Staying and Critiquing

Israeli Orthodox Women Filmmakers

in Israel Studies Review
Author:
Valeria Seigelsheifer Bar-Ilan University valeria.seigelshifer@gmail.com

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Tova Hartman Ono Academic College tovahartman@gmail.com

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Abstract

Over the past two decades, Israeli Orthodox Jewish women filmmakers have used film to speak in a public voice about various subjects that were previously taboo. Although there are aspects of Orthodoxy to which these filmmakers object, they do so as ‘devoted resisters’. Rather than expressing heretical opposition, the women stay committed to Orthodoxy precisely because they are able to use filmmaking to resist. In their negotiations of voice used to ‘justify’ their decision to become filmmakers, the women position themselves as ‘accidental’ filmmakers, thereby remaining within Orthodoxy while critiquing it through their films. Cultural resistance in this case is not carried out as defiance to Orthodox Judaism but rather out of a relationship with it, featuring a form of resistance that insists upon devotion to multiple commitments.

Contributor Notes

VALERIA SEIGELSHEIFER is a doctoral student in the Gender Studies program at Bar-Ilan University. Her dissertation centers on the experiences of Orthodox Jewish women filmmakers. She is a lecturer at Ono Academic College and works at the Adva Center, a think tank dedicated to examining Israeli social and economic policy. She does advocacy work with the Knesset, government ministries, and local authorities to promote gender equality in programming and budgeting. E-mail: valeria.seigelshifer@gmail.com

TOVA HARTMAN is Dean of Humanities at Ono Academic College. She is the author of Appropriately Subversive: Modern Mothers in Traditional Religions (2002), Feminism Encounters Traditional Judaism (2007), and Are You Not a Man of God? Devotion, Betrayal, and Social Criticism in Jewish Tradition (2014, co-written with Charlie Buckholtz). Her most recent article is “Men, Masculinity, and Breakups” (Personal Relationships, 2017). In 2002, she helped found Shira Hadasha, a synagogue that facilitates women's participation and leadership within Orthodoxy. E-mail: tovahartman@gmail.com

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