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Barbara Myerhoff

Barbara Myerhoff

Renowned anthropologist Barbara Myerhoff made waves when she chose to study a very different culture: her own.

Tefillin Barbie: Considering Gender and Ritual Garb

Do women in your community wear tefillin and tallit when they pray? Do you? For many, the relationship between gender and ritual garb is still evolving, as Jews consider their personal and communal associations with these objects and practices. This Go & Learn guide uses the provocative image of "Tefillin Barbie"—created in 2006 by soferet (ritual scribe) Jen Taylor Friedman—to explore issues of gender, ritual, and body image.

Barbara Myerhoff

Myerhoff was a renowned scholar, heading the University of Southern California's anthropology department in Los Angeles where she lived and raised her family. A creative and extremely popular professor, she urged her students to use the tools of anthropology to question and better understand their own lives and the lives of others. But Myerhoff's influence also reached far beyond academia, and she touched a broad audience with her books and films.

Television in the United States

American Jewish women have a complex history of association with the medium of television. Since emerging as a mass medium in the early post–World War II years, television has figured prominently in the careers of a number of American Jewish women working both before and behind the camera.

Barbara Myerhoff

Barbara Myerhoff was part of a small group of scholars in the 1970s who introduced the importance of understanding storytelling, who pioneered the study of one’s own community, and who paid attention to the relationships among age, ethnic identity, and gender.

Ritual in the United States

Ritual is an act or a set of actions that employs symbols meaningful to the participants in a formal, repetitive, and stylized fashion. Ritual behavior is one of the fundamental pillars of Judaism, and of all religions, whose concern is precisely with ultimate meaning and purpose.

Assimilation in the United States: Nineteenth Century

Scholars have conventionally considered the nineteenth century the German era in the American Jewish history. Between 1820 and 1880, more than two hundred thousand immigrants from German lands arrived in the United States. Besides German Jews, this transatlantic movement also included migrants from ethnically Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Baltic territories that at that time remained under German political control or cultural influence.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Barbara Myerhoff." (Viewed on August 30, 2014) <http://jwa.org/taxonomy/term/10722>.

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