The Shtiebelization of Modern Jewry: Studies in Custom and Ritual in the Judaic Tradition: Social-Anthropological Perspectives

The Shtiebelization of Modern Jewry: Studies in Custom and Ritual in the Judaic Tradition: Social-Anthropological Perspectives


Simcha Fishbane

Series: Judaism and Jewish Life
ISBN: 9781936235773 (hardcover)
Pages: 280 pp.
Publication Date: October 2011

Add To Cart

Jewish custom and ritual, or their Hebrew equivalent, minhag, has intrigued rabbis and scholars for generations. The majority of the rabbinical works devoted to minhag primarily encompass lists of sources and reporting of old and new customs. Some have explored the historical development of the minhag. Here, Simcha Fishbane treats minhag from a socio-anthropological perspective. The Shtiebelization of Modern Jewry discusses the theory and model of minhagim using the Mishnah Berurah and the Arukh Hashulkhan, analyzes rabbinic texts concerned with custom, and describes current rituals from a socio-anthropological viewpoint, enabling both scholars and general readers to come to a better understanding of minhagim in Jewish culture.

Simcha Fishbane  (PhD Concordia University, Montreal Canada 1998) is an Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Executive Assistant to the President of Touro College. His recent publications include Deviancy in Early Rabbinic Literature (Brill, 2007); Jewish Studies in Violence, edited by and introduced by Simcha Fishbane (UPA, 2006); and Voodoo or Judaism, The Ritual of Kapparot: People Medicine and Maaic in Jewish and Slavic Cultural Tradition (Moscow, 2007).

In his book, Simcha Fishbane presents the reader with a series of studies that combine an expertise in the textual intricacies of the rabbinical literary tradition and a mastery of the scholarly field of the anthropology of religion to create an interesting and important perspective on custom and ritual in the Judaic tradition. This book is a substantial contribution to our understanding of how and why Jews do what they do in the present as well as in times past.
— Ira Robinson, Concordia University

Table of Contents

Introduction : Theory and Method of Minhag

1. Voodoo or Judaism?—The Ritual of Kapparot
2. Count Your Blessings: Jewish Mourning Rituals During the Spring Season (Sefirat ha’omer)
3. Does Judaism Give Women Time Off for Good Behavior? The Case of Women Working on Rosh Hodesh
4. Jewish Beards: The Symbolic Representation of the Rabbinic Beard
5. Custom is on a Par with a Vow: Custom as Manifested in the Mishnah Berurah
6. Social Reality or the Written Word: Minhag as Expressed in the Arukh Hashulhan
7. Contemporary Bar Mitzvah Rituals in Modern Orthodoxy
8. A Female Rite of Passage in a Montreal Modern Orthodox Synagogue: The Bat Mitzvah Ceremony
9. Jewish Mourning Rites: A Process of Resocialization
10. Back to the Yeshiva: The Social Dynamics of an Orthodox Sabbath Morning Service