July 7, 2012


Filed under: — @ 12:59 am

Observing the Observant “Secularization, Sexuality and the Rise of Modern Jewish Literature” byNaomi Seidman at Chulent, Ocean Parkway Jewish Center 7-5-2012 – recorded by geo gelller – editors note: please note this is un-edited, untouched, unimaginable and to some it might be unthinkable too

[mp3j track=”″ caption=”by Matt Jones”]

from Naomi description of her talk – In this talk, I will show how secularization involved the transformation of traditional Jewish sexual and marital practices, a transformation that reform-minded Jewish writers tried to effect through literature. In the nineteenth century, Maskilic writers tried to teach traditional Jews about “proper” heterosexual romance and gender roles through “positive” literary models, for instance, romantic novels like “Ahavat Tsiyyon” that showed how a man should court a woman, and through the negative mirror of Yiddish satire, for instance “Dos Poylish Yingl,” which showed Hasidic Jews as sexually distorted, improperly masculine or feminine. In the twentieth century, writers recovered aspects of traditional Jewish culture that their predecessors had criticized, for instance arranged, early marriage, demonstrating the richness of traditional formations just as they were becoming, for many modernizing Jews, an obsolete part of the Jewish past

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