Naomi Sheindel Seidman
- Graduate Theological Union
This research studies the links between the emergence of modern Jewish literature and the transformation of the sexual structures, marital practices, and gender roles (and, inevitably, reading practices) of East European Jews. This history had two stages: the nineteenth-century Jewish Enlightenment writers viewed tradition (in their construction) as sexually repressive, providing literary models of “proper” romance or satirizing the “grotesque” sexual arrangements of traditional Jewish communities. By contrast, twentieth-century Hebrew and Yiddish modernists discovered erotic power in what they now viewed as the lost traditional past. New varieties of Jewish performance (of both tradition and modernity) created arenas for healing the sexual traumas of modernity.