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.
- Women's feelings and preferences regarding ritual garb are at once very personal and also reflective of communal norms.
- While the meaning behind Tefillin Barbie is open to interpretation, she undoubtedly contributes to the ongoing discussion about the role of women in Jewish ritual life.
- The role of Jewish women in Jewish ritual life has evolved greatly since the inception of the more liberal Jewish movements, and continues to evolve today.
- What are the different ways in which Tefillin Barbie can be interpreted?
- Why do you think Jen Taylor Friedman created Tefillin Barbie?
- For youth:
Tefillin Barbie: Body image and gender roles in Judaism
- For family/congregational education:
Barbie wears Tefillin, do you? Exploring ritual garb
- For adults:
Barbie lays Tefillin: Discussing women and Jewish ritual
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Tefillin Barbie: Considering Gender and Ritual Garb." (Viewed on July 5, 2020) <https://jwa.org/teach/golearn/jan08>.