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Has anyone read Mitzvah Girls? (Chassidish Brooklyn)

 
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amother




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Post  Thu, Apr 02 2020, 5:12 pm
Is it (<--amazon link) worth reading?

Looks somewhat interesting.
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cnc




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Apr 02 2020, 5:19 pm
It gives you the option to read the first few pages
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Apr 02 2020, 5:24 pm
cnc wrote:
It gives you the option to read the first few pages


Yes, it does. I meant more if anyone has read the whole thing and if it's worth spending the money (in addition to if it's accurate in terms of info about the Chassidishe velt or just more shtuss).

Lots of questions re Chassidim lately because of Unorthodox.
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Fox




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Apr 02 2020, 5:54 pm
Read it? I'm quoted in it! In the final chapter, the author details the reaction among frum Yidden to the book and quoted something I posted on another site. She describes me as "a typical Bobov woman," which is pretty hilarious.

Here's the thing: it's basically a doctoral dissertation with some general interest that was turned into a book. The author's doctorate is in linguistics, and she was examining the use of Yiddish among women in the Bobov 45 community.

I found it very interesting, but I suspect not everyone would.

For example, she observed how girls are transitioned to speaking more English than boys and are rewarded for good English communication skills more than boys. She also observed that women in the community took pride in their abilities to effectively communicate in English and that the men considered a wife with good English skills to reflect a higher status than one without.

I think it added a lot of nuance to the usual debates about secular education and how language serves as a status marker in Jewish communities.

There was, of course, the usual "secular Jew finds our ways odd and parochial" stuff. For example, when observing at a school, the author became engaged, and pejoratively described the girls' reactions, such as asking if her parents liked him; if he was a "good boy"; and if he was going to be learning or working. But these moments weren't overwhelming and the tone was generally respectful.

She also addressed the existence of women in the community who consume varying degrees of secular culture -- self-described as "with it." She observed how their status in the community is contradictory. On one hand, they may face disapproval at times, but they are also relied upon to help translate events and communication in the larger secular world. Again, I was impressed with the nuance these observations added -- having an appetite for secular culture is not encouraged but status can nevertheless accrue from it.

So if this sounds good to you, go for it.

Signed, "a typical [not] Bobov woman."
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