2020 was an especially prominent year for Haredim. The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis, together with the U.S. Presidential election, featured a much more visible and seemingly defiant public presence by Haredim and, concomitantly, brought an enormous amount of new public attention to them. This moment yielded a different face of Haredi Judaism than the quiet and sequestered enclave society of years past.
2020 was an especially prominent year for Haredim. The COVID-19 (Corona) crisis, together with the U.S. Presidential election, featured a much more visible and seemingly defiant public presence by Haredim and, concomitantly, brought an enormous amount of new public attention to them. This moment yielded a different face of Haredi Judaism than the quiet and sequestered enclave society of years past.
In recent years, Haredi Judaism has become a known entity and even a marketable brand. “Shtisel,” “Unorthodox,” OTD memoirs, and other forms of popular culture have simultaneously demystified and exoticized this form of Orthodox Judaism, transforming it into a media hit and source of intense and often prurient interest.
Katz Center Fellow Dr. Elazar Ben-Lulu on Reform Lifecycle Rituals, LGBTQ Culture in Judaism, and Religious Observance During COVID-19
Steven P. Weitzman (SPW): Elazar, can you tell us a little about how you came to your intellectual interests, and what you are hoping to accomplish as a Katz Center fellow this year?
One of the greatest treasures of Israel and of Jewish academic life internationally is the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem. Recently, as a result of budget cuts and the Covid-19 pandemic, the library has announced that it will suspend public services and put its 300 employees on unpaid leave as of Monday, August 17. The many services that the library provides will cease, including the lending of books and teacher training, and there is great concern for the furloughed staff members and the larger circle of employees affected by the closure.
Jewish Affordable Housing Projects in Late Tsarist Russia: Urban Housing, Public Health, and Communal Responsibility
As New York City became the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak, observers noted that cities have long been viewed as bastions of disease. In particular, as the industrial revolution led to rapid urbanization in the nineteenth century reformers sought ways to mitigate the public health problems created by overcrowded living conditions and lack of sanitation. Among the questions they asked: how could urban housing for the working class be improved and who was responsible for improving it?
JQR is pleased to present our third forum in a series offering scholarly meditations drawn from a range of disciplinary perspectives. In the first forum, five historians reflected on the existence and meaning of plagues in Jewish history; the second invited philosophers and theologians to share insights on the pandemic and its meaning.
In an extraordinary confluence, global stay-at-home orders aligned with the Katz Center’s fellowship theme this past year, focused on “the Jewish home.” Back in March I (virtually) convened a few fellows, newly exiled from their residential experience, to share their thoughts about homes in light of quarantine and Covid-19.
In a recent op-ed piece in the New York Times, columnist Elisabeth Rosenthal poses a question that is becoming ever more pressing as the coronavirus crisis continues: how can we reconnect to other people without being able to tell whether it is potentially lethal to get too close to them?