In “The Men’s Section: Orthodox Jewish Men in an Egalitarian World,” Elana Maryles Sztokman probes the lives of Orthodox men who choose to attend “‘partnership” synagogues that offer religious services that are traditional and egalitarian in nature, within the Orthodox world. The author studied the ideologies and behavior of more than 50 men in the United States, Israel and Australia.
—The New York Jewish Week
Sztokman’s book provides the intellectual tools through which we can reconstruct traditional gender identity in novel ways. .... (It is) a vital contribution well beyond the scene of liberal Orthodoxy.
The author describes the little-discussed subject of life on the men’s side of the divider.
It’s a story about tension, identity and dialogue. About living on the borders of a culture, yet still navigating within them. About negotiating, pushing back and yes, acceptance. Its tale is particular, yet so universal that scholars and laymen all over the world are picking up Elana Sztokman’s new work.
—Times of Israel
For decades, those who support gender equality have believed that challenging Orthodox Judaism was a nonstarter, an impossible dream. After all, aren’t these the guys whose morning prayer includes thanks for not being born a woman? And yet, from deep within the modern Orthodox temple come rumblings of change. Led initially by pioneering feminist women, Orthodox Jewish men are coming to see how gender equality is the fruition, not the antithesis, of their religious vision. This extraordinary book highlights the imperatives and the struggles toward that vision.
—Michael Kimmel, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, SUNY Stony Brook, author of “Manhood in America”
ELANA MARYLES SZTOKMAN writes on gender issues for The Forward, and has taught at the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies and Bar-Ilan University, among others.