Authenticity, Autonomy, and Authority: Feminist Jewish Learning among Post-Soviet Women


Publication Date: January 2008

Publisher: Routledge (Firm); Network for Research in Jewish Education

Author(s): Lisa D. Grant

Research Area: Culture and religion; Education

Keywords: Feminism; Jewish Identification; Former Soviet Union (FSU); Adult Education

Type: Report


This articles explores how a group of women in the Former Soviet Union grapple with questions of Jewish identity and Jewish "authenticity" as they participate in an adult Jewish learning program that employs methods of feminist pedagogy and transformative learning. The study reflects on areas of dissonance between the transformational learning process and the tenacity of the women's
world assumptions that are shaped by background, history, and worldview. While the learning process seems to be prompting these women to seriously and critically reflect on and reframe their self-understanding as learners and as Jews, their limited content knowledge combined with a tentative sense of personal authority about Jewish life seems to impede their ability to harmonize their learning with a clear sense of what constitutes authentic practice of Judaism.

In Journal of Jewish Education, 74:83-102, 2008.