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Gwendolen Burton

Infertility and pregnancy loss (miscarriage, termination, stillbirth and neonatal death) affect a significant proportion of our community, both women and men. While biblical narrative shows a range of reactions to infertility, the idea that a child is a blessing, or even a reward from God, can be unhelpful for people struggling with childlessness. Meanwhile, standard Jewish liturgy is completely silent, as though these issues are too painful to be confronted, even in prayer. Our prayer books must offer support and spiritual guidance to individuals at times of crisis. The article concludes with some new liturgy, and with relevant readings and prayers, adapted for the purpose, from existing prayer books.

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Calm Vessels

Cultural Expectations of Pregnant Women in Qatar

Susie Kilshaw, Daniel Miller, Halima Al Tamimi, Faten El-Taher, Mona Mohsen, Nadia Omar, Stella Major and Kristina Sole

This article explores emerging themes from the first stage of ethnographic research investigating pregnancy and loss in Qatar. Issues around the development of foetal personhood, the medical management of the pregnant body and the social role of the pregnant woman are explored. Findings suggest that Qatari women are expected to be calm vessels for their growing baby and should avoid certain foods and behaviours. These ideas of risk avoidance are linked to indigenous knowledge around a mother’s influence on a child’s health and traits. Motherhood holds a particularly important place in Qatari culture and in Islam, and women are ultimately responsible for protecting and promoting fertility and for producing healthy children.

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Gershon Shafir

This article asks whether the Yom Kippur War was avoidable. The intense diplomatic efforts of the 1971-1973 years that are examined include plans and counterplans offered by special United Nations representative Gunnar Jarring, US Secretary of State William Rogers, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan, and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. The article concludes that since settlement was the method of Israeli state-building and served as the basis of the Labor Movement's hegemony within the Israeli society, once Israel embarked on a settlement project in the Sinai it was unwilling to accept full territorial withdrawal to the borders on 5 June 1967 in return for an Egyptian promise of non-belligerence. At the same time, the US was deterred by its conflicting global and regional interests from exerting pressure on Israel to accept the Egyptian proposal.

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Not Forgotten

Eliza Fenning, Frankenstein, and Victorian Chivalry

Tim Marshall

On 18 July 1867, Charles Dickens’s weekly journal All the Year Round went back into history and told the story of a young woman who met her death on the gallows in London in 1815. ‘Old Stories Re-Told’, sub-titled ‘Eliza Fenning (The Danger of Condemning to Death on Circumstantial Evidence Alone)’, reminded its readers of a mis-carriage of justice. Speaking through one of his journalists, Walter Thornbury, Dickens performed an act of chivalry directed at the person and memory of a wronged woman. Eliza Fenning, a servant in a wealthy London household, worked for a Mr Turner, a law-stationer.