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I’m Dr. Rivka Neriya-Ben Shahar

I’m Dr. Rivka Neriya-Ben Shahar. Here is my short bio:

Dr. Rivka Neriya-Ben Shahar is a senior lecturer at Sapir Academic College in Sderot, Israel, where she teaches courses on research methods, communication, religion, and gender. She is also a scholar at the Israel Democracy Institute, where she studies media usage among the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. Her doctorate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was entitled “Ultra-Orthodox Women and Mass Media in Israel – Exposure Patterns and Reading Strategies.” As a Fulbright post-doctoral fellow and a Scholar-in-Residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University, she worked on an analytical study of women’s cultural-religious practices.

Dr. Neriya Ben-Shahar investigates mass media from the perspectives of religion and gender. Her research addresses the tensions existing between religious values and new technologies among women in Old Order Amish and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. These studies have produced articles and presentations for many leading journals and conferences. Her book, “Strictly Observant: Amish and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Women Negotiating Media“ published by Rutgers University Press in January 2024.

In recent projects with other scholars, Dr. Neriya-Ben Shahar focuses on the relationships of various closed communities with the healthcare-systems. These studies are funded by the Israeli Science Foundation and the National Israel Institute for Health Policy Research.

About my new book –

Strictly Observant: Amish and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Women Negotiating Media

The Amish and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities have typically been associated with strict religious observance, a renunciation of worldly things, and an obedience of women to men. Women’s relationship to media in these communities, however, betrays a more nuanced picture of the boundaries at play and women’s roles in negotiating them. Strictly Observant presents a compelling ethnographic study of the complex dynamic between women in both the Pennsylvanian Old Order Amish and Israeli Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities and contemporary media technologies. These women regularly establish valuable social, cultural, and religious capital through the countless decisions for use and non-use of media that they make in their daily lives, and in ways that challenge the gender hierarchies of each community. By exhibiting a deep awareness of how media can be managed to increase their social and religious reputations, these women prompt us to reconsider our outmoded understanding of the Amish and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities, the role that women play in these communities as agents of change, and our own relationship to media today.

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