Call for Papers: Yemenite Jewish Women

The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies

The Jewish women of Yemen faced a major sociocultural transition upon their exodus from the pre-modern Yemenite world. Women in Yemen were, on the whole, illiterate and confined to extremely time-consuming traditional roles in the private domain. Life in their new places of residence, whether in Israel, England, or New York, demanded quick adaptation and initially involved harsh conditions and menial work.

Yet the Yemenite Jewish community has been remarkably successful in adapting to the conditions of its host societies; its integration with largely Ashkenazi elites provides a unique test case for studying the impact of migration and multicultural relations in the modern Jewish world. Many of its members, both male and female, have risen to influential positions in their new environs and have made signal achievements in fields ranging from education, social activism, art, dance, and music to scholarship and religious scholarship. The Yemenite case is distinctive in the extent to which women as well as men have participated in these attainments.

For example, R. Yosef Kafah, a leading Maimonidean scholar, and his wife, Bracha Kafah, who heads a vast charity organization and has traveled worldwide at the request of the Israeli government to accompany cultural exhibits, both received the Israel Prize (in different years) for their major contributions to society; no other married couple in Israeli history has achieved this honor.

Issue no. 11 of Nashim will be devoted to Yemenite Jewish women: their migrations and integration into their new communities; their cultural contributions and activities in the present and the recent past; and their history in Yemen and outside. We also invite contributions on gender relations within the Yemenite community and in its negotiations with host societies. Submissions in all disciplines, including literature and the arts, are encouraged. The issue’s consulting editor is Nitza Druyan of Hofstra University.

Please send proposals for submissions to the Managing Editor of Nashim by February 1, 2005, by e-mail (preferably) to nashim@schechter.ac.il; by mail to Nashim, The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, POB 16080, Jerusalem 91160; or by fax to +972-2-6790840. Final date for submission of articles: May 1, 2005. All scholarly articles will be subject to academic review. Academic Editor of Nashim: Renee Levine Melammed.

Nashim is published jointly by the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, and Indiana University

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