God-Sent Ordeals and Their Discontents: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Women Negotiate Prenatal Testing

Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 72, pp. 1527-1533, 2011

7 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2012 Last revised: 19 Feb 2012

See all articles by Tsipy Ivry

Tsipy Ivry

University of Haifa

Elly Teman

Ruppin Academic Center

Ayala Fumkin

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: May 6, 2010

Abstract

Through narrative interviews with 20 pregnant ultra-orthodox [Haredi] Jewish women in Israel conducted between 2007 and 2009, we examine the implications for such women of prenatal testing, and of pregnancy as a gendered route of piety. We found that pregnancy signified both a divine mission and possible reproductive misfortunes. Bearing a child with a disability was taken as a test of faith and God’s decree was to be accepted. Fetal anomaly created anxiety about the women’s ability to fulfill their Godgiven task and about their position in an unwritten hierarchy of gendered righteousness. Challenging reproductive decisions were often assigned to rabbis, but this did not exempt women from viewing themselves as inadequate in their religious devotion. We conclude that prenatal testing becomes a spiritual ordeal that aggravates pregnancy tensions.

Keywords: Israel, prenatal diagnosis, religion, ultra-orthodox Jews, women, collective reproductive histories, hierarchies of piety, maternal subjectivity

Suggested Citation

Ivry, Tsipy and Teman, Elly and Fumkin, Ayala, God-Sent Ordeals and Their Discontents: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Women Negotiate Prenatal Testing (May 6, 2010). Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 72, pp. 1527-1533, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1601354

Tsipy Ivry

University of Haifa ( email )

Mount Carmel
Haifa, 31905
Israel

Elly Teman (Contact Author)

Ruppin Academic Center ( email )

Emek Hefer
Emek Hefer 40250, 40250
Israel

Ayala Fumkin

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
41
Abstract Views
498
PlumX Metrics