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Grant number: FA-251802-17

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FA-251802-17

Ayala Fader
Fordham University (Bronx, NY 10458-9993)

The Internet and the New York Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Community

Research for and writing of a study of a community of ultra-Orthodox Jews who use the Internet anonymously to critique their religious community and share their doubts.

How do nonliberal religious communities morally struggle with doubt and faith in the digital age? The book project analyzes the lives of ultra-Orthodox Jews living “double lives,” those who doubted the truth of divine revelation at Mount Sinai but made the moral choice to live in their communities as practicing Jews. The Internet made it possible for those living double lives to anonymously critique their communities online (in Yiddish and English) and secretly explore secular knowledge, sensibilities, and sociality offline. In response, ultra-Orthodox Jewish communal leaders called the current period “a crisis of faith.” There has been a community-wide acknowledgement that embodied signs no longer assured the cultivation of shared interior faith; this required new forms of attention to interiority through talk. As a study of a struggle by doubters and the faithful to define authentic ultra-Orthodoxy, the book speaks to humanities scholars of religion, ethics, language and media.

Project fields:
Cultural Anthropology; Linguistic Anthropology; Religion, General

Program:
Fellowships for University Teachers

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2017 – 7/31/2018