Women & Religion: Okinawa, Israel, United States

My research career began with the questions: How do women “do” religion when they have some measure of autonomy? How would religion” look if the patriarchal core were not there? This page lists publications growing out of my research with elderly Kurdish women in Jerusalem, priestesses in Okinawa, and shrines focused on women saints and devotees.

1999 Women of the Sacred Groves: Divine Priestesses of Okinawa, Oxford University Press.

1994 Priestess, Mother, Sacred Sister: Religions Dominated by Women, Oxford University Press. This book won the American Academy of Religion’s award for excellence in the study of religion (1995).

1992 Women as Ritual Experts: The Religious Lives of Elderly Jewish Women in Jerusalem, Oxford University Press. This book won a National Jewish Book Council prize in the field of Jewish thought (1993) and was chosen as an American Folklore Society Selection.

2011 (with Maureen Norton-Hawk) “Whose Higher Power: Criminalized Women Confront the Twelve Steps,” Feminist Criminology 6 (4): 308-322.

2007 (with Roger Lohmann) “Introduction: Objects, Gender and Religion,” Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief 3:1.

2007 “Negotiating Women’s Roles and Power: The Practice of World Religions in Contemporary Asia: Prologue,” Religion 37(2): 111-116.

2005 (with Ronald Nakasone) “Ritual Transformations in Okinawan Immigrant Communities,” Karen Leonard, Alex Stepick, Manuel Vazquez, Jennifer Holdaway, eds. Immigrant Faiths: Transforming Religious Life in America, Altamira Press.

2005 “Exile, Illness, and Gender in Israeli Pilgrimage Narratives,” pp. 69-90, Pilgrimage and Healing, eds. Jill Dubisch and Michael Winkelman, University of Arizona Press.

2003 “Lexicons of the Supernatural,” Anthropological Forum 13(2): 213-218.

2002 “Naturally Healthy: Divine Priestesses of Okinawa,” Journal of Women and Religion, Vol. 18.

2002 “Towards a Gendered Typology of Sacrifice: Women and Feasting, Men and Death in an Okinawan Village,” pp. 13-38, ed. Albert I. Baumgarten, Sacrifice in Religious Experience (Studies in the History of Religions). Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.

2001 “Religiously Doing Gender: The Good Woman and the Bad Woman in Israeli Ritual Discourse,” Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, 13: 153-176.

2001 “Replaying the Rape of Dina: Women’s Bodies in Israeli Cultural Discourse,” Contemporary Jewry, Vol. 21.

2001 “Absent Men, Wonderful Women and God is Great,” Yael Azmon, ed. Will You Listen to My Voice: Representations of Women in Israeli Culture, Van Leer Institute / Kibbutz HaMeuhad Press (in Hebrew).

2000 “Roundtable Discussion: Feminist Theology: Religiously Diverse Neighborhood or Christian Ghetto?” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 16(2): 104-108.

2000 “Jewish Women and the Shekhina,” Concilium 5: 78-90.

1999 “‘Woman’ as Symbol and Women as Agents: Gendered Religious Discourses and Practices” in Judith Lorber, Myra Marx Ferree and Beth Hess, eds. Revisioning Gender, Sage.

1999 “Women Pilgrims and Woman Saints: Gendered Icons and the Iconization of Gender at Israeli Shrines,” National Women’s Studies Association Journal 11(2): 48-71.

1999 “Talking about Mikveh Parties, or The Discourse of Status, Hierarchy and Social Control” in Rahel Wasserfall, ed. Women and Water: Niddah and Mikveh in Jewish Cultures, UPNE.

1998 “De-Gendering Religious Leadership: Sociological Discourse in an Okinawan Village,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 66(3): 589-611.

1998 “A Tale of Three Rachels: The Natural Herstory of a Cultural Symbol,” Nashim 1(1): 5-41.

1997 “Symbolic Illnesses, Real Handprints, and Other Bodily Marks: Autobiographies of Okinawan Priestesses and Shamans,” Ethos 25(4): 408-427.

1997 “Women and Religious Change in Israel: Rebellion or Revolution?,” Sociology of Religion 58(1): 1-24.

1997 “Arbiters of Female Purity: Conversations With Israeli Ritual Bath Attendants,” in Amia Lieblich and Ruthellen Josselson, eds. Narrative Study of Lives 5: 40-58.

1996 “Rosh Chodesh Observances among Older Sephardic Women,” in Susan Berrin, ed. Celebrating the New Moon: A Rosh Chodesh Anthology. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.

1996 “Mother-Love, Child-Death and Religious Innovation: A Feminist Perspective,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 12(1): 5-24.

1996 “Conversations with Rabbanit Zohara: An Exploration of Gender and Religious Autobiography,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 63(2): 249-268.

1996 “Anthropological Reflections on the Book of Susanna,” (with Samuel Cooper) in Ellen Spolsky, ed. The Judgment of Susanna: Authority and Witness, Scholars Press.

1996 “Our Mother Rachel,” in Arvind Sharma and Katherine Young, eds. Annual Review of Women in World Religions, Volume 4. Albany: State University of New York Press, pp. 1-56.

1996 “The Structural Invisibility of the Religious World of Jewish Women in Kurdistan,” in Shlomo Deshen and Walter Zenner, ed. Jewish Societies in Muslim Lands. London: Macmillan and New York University Press.

1995 “When Subordinates Lead: Paradoxes of Women’s Religious Leadership in Okinawa and Israel,” Okinawa Minzoku Kenkyu (Journal of Okinawan Folklore Studies) 15: 1-10 (in Japanese).

1995 “Rachel’s Tomb: The Development of a Cult,” Jewish Studies Quarterly 2(2): pp. 103-148.

1995 “The Religious World of Oriental Women in Jerusalem,” in Yael Atzmon, ed. Jewish Women in Mediterranean Communities. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar, pp. 245-257 (in Hebrew).

1995 “Towards an Anthropology of Jewish Women: The Religious World of Elderly, Middle-Eastern Women in Jerusalem,” in Maurie Sacks, ed. Jewish Women’s Cultures. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, pp. 203-218.

1994 “Husbands, Wives and Childbirth Rituals,” Ethos 22(2).

1994 “Ideology, Autonomy and Sisterhood: An Analysis of the Secular Consequences of Women’s Religions,” Gender and Society 8(4): 486-506.

1994 “‘She Perceives Her Work to Be Rewarding’: Jewish Women in Cross-Cultural Perspective,” in Lynn Davidman and Shelly Tenenbaum, eds. Feminist Perspectives on Jewish Studies. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 169-190.

1993 “Religious Rituals and Secular Rituals: Interpenetrating Models of Childbirth in a Modern, Israeli Context.” Sociology of Religion 54(1): 101-114.

1992 (with Henry Abramovitch) “Pregnant Dreaming: Search for a Typology of a Proposed Dream Genre,” Social Science and Medicine 34(12): 1405-1411.

1991 “The Synagogue as a Sacred Space for the Elderly, Oriental Women of Jerusalem,” in Susan Grossman and Rivka Haut, eds. Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue. N.Y.: Jewish Publication Society.

1991 “Childbirth as a Religious Experience?: Fieldwork Among Women in an Israeli Hospital,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 7(2): 7-18.

1991 “Conflict, Complement, and Control: Family and Religion among Middle-Eastern Jewish Women in Jerusalem,” Gender and Society, 5(1): 10-29.

1991 “Rachel, Mary and Fatima,” Cultural Anthropology, 6(2): 131-146.

1991 “Gender, Immanence, and Transcendence: The Candle-­Lighting Repertoire of Middle-Eastern Jews,” Metaphor and Symbolic Activity, 6(4): 293-304.

1990 “Women, Religion and Modernization: Tradition and Transformation among Elderly Jews in Israel,” American Anthropologist, 92: 306-318.

1990 “Women, Halacha, and Modesty,” Jewish Folklore and Ethnography Review, 12(1-2): 14-16.

1989 “Rachel’s Tomb: Societal Liminality and the Revitalization of a Shrine,” Religion 19: 27-40.

1989 “The Religion of Relating,” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 6(3): 309-325.

1988 “Food and Holiness: Cooking as a Sacred Act Among Middle­-Eastern Jewish Women,” Anthropological Quarterly, 61(3): 129-140.

1988 “The Domestication of Religion,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society (Man, N.S.), 23: 506-521. Reprinted in Shlomo Deshen, Charles Liebman and Moshe Shokeid, eds. Israeli Judaism, Transaction Press, New Brunswick 1995 (Studies of Israeli Society, vol. 7).

1987 “Gender, Ritual and Morality,” Israel Social Science Research, 5(1 and 2): 87-96.

1987 “The Liberation of Widowhood,” Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 2(2): 139-150.

1986 “Rachel’s Tomb and the Milk Grotto of the Virgin Mary: Two Women’s Shrines in Bethlehem,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 2(2): 7-22.