Dear colleagues,

We are excited to announce that the New York Working Group on Jewish Orthodoxies will continue its activities for a second academic year, 2017-2018, thanks to the generous support of the American Academy for Jewish Research and Fordham University’s Program in Jewish Studies. The working group is hosted by Fordham University’s Jewish Studies Program and Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Lincoln Center.

The Working Group is convened as a response to the growing number of social scientists, particularly in the New York region, conducting research with Orthodox communities (Hasidic, Lithuanian-Yeshivish, Syrian, etc.) at a historical turning point in North American Jewish life: While communities are becoming increasingly Orthodox, Orthodoxy itself is undergoing rapid sociocultural and political change.

This year we will be studying the genealogy of the term “orthodoxy” and its limits and potentialities as a theoretical framework for the diversity of Jewish life today. Each of our meetings will focus on a particular narrative history of the term. Our first meeting will consider a particular Jewish iteration of the term in response to “reform(ed)” Judaism in prewar Europe. Other meetings will include comparative uses of “orthodoxy” in terms of correct practice, using the case study of Russian Orthodoxy; the development of the term in the postwar US context; and complications with the term when Sephardi communities are included. The final meeting will be devoted to workshopping articles that will appear in a special journal issue dedicated to the social scientific study of contemporary Orthodox Jewish life.

We are interested in hearing from junior and senior scholars as well as graduate students who are interested in participating in our group. As an interdisciplinary working group with a special focus on developing comparative theoretical frameworks for analyzing religious and cultural life, we also encourage participation by social scientists engaged in research in non-Jewish orthodox or nonliberal communities in the United States, such as Evangelical Christians, Amish and Mennonites, Mormons, Muslims, etc.

Please contact us by email (Ayala Fader, fader@fordham.edu & Isaac Bleaman, ibleaman@nyu.edu) by August 30, 2017, if you are interested in being involved in the group. More information and updates can be found on our website.