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Gender Regulation as a Source of Religious Schism

Phil Zuckerman
Sociology of Religion
Vol. 58, No. 4 (Winter, 1997), pp. 353-373
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3711921
Page Count: 21
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Gender Regulation as a Source of Religious Schism
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Abstract

This paper adds to the growing body of literature concerned with the connection between gender issues and religious conflict by reporting a case of religious schism in which issues surrounding gender regulation were at the center of the struggle. For decades there had only been one synagogue in Northweston, Washington. However, in the early 1990s, this congregation experienced in-fighting and a complete schismatic rift, largely over issues involving women's role and status within the synagogue. Based upon data collected through participant observation and in-depth interviews with 29 informants, this paper explores the importance gender regulation plays in contemporary religious life, and describes the potential for controversy and division when issues of gender regulation are faced by American Jewish communities.

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