The Men's Section

Orthodox Jewish Men in an Egalitarian World

Elana Maryles Sztokman

In this illuminating book, Elana Maryles Sztokman investigates a fascinating new sociological phenomenon: Orthodox Jewish men who connect themselves to egalitarian or quasi-egalitarian religious enterprises. She examines the men who have enabled these transitions by constituting the requisite ten-man prayer quorum of Orthodoxy. By participating in “Partnership Minyanim,” these men support the reconstruction of both male and female roles without leaving the Orthodox religious world. Sztokman interrogates the ideologies and motivations of more than fifty such men in the United States, Israel, and Australia. Beginning with the “Orthodox Man Box” of conventionally constructed male behavior, she explores their struggles to navigate individualism and conformity, tradition and change. Setting their experiences in the context of gender role construction in traditional and contemporary synagogues, she shows how, for example, changes in leadership in Partnership Minyanim facilitate a fresh approach to liturgical expression, offering the possibility of reforming how modern Orthodox Jews attend services and pray.

E-book: $25.95
ISBN-13: 9781611680805
Pages: 288 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: November 8, 2011


  • 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 Forward
  • The author describes the little-discussed subject of life on the men’s side of the divider.

    Jerusalem Post
  • 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”

About the Author

Elana Maryles Sztokman

Dr. Elana Maryles Sztokman is a feminist thought-leader, anthropologist, and writer whose research and ideas help shape a vision for a compassionate society. Author of six books (so far!) on gender in society, and a two-time winner of the National Jewish Book Council award, Elana is the creator of the Jewish Feminist Academy, where she offers courses and content to help shape conversations about gender in Jewish life. She writes, speaks, and consults with groups and organizations around the …

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