Dr. Valeria Seigelshifer and Professor Tova Hartman have recently published a study whose aim is to “examine how Orthodox women filmmakers negotiate their various personal commitments—to themselves, their families, their communities, as well as to their art and to religion.” The work, published in, Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, focuses on the religious lives of 26 women graduates of Jerusalem’s Ma’aleh School of Film and Television.

Seigelshifer’s and Hartman’s inquiry provides the reader with a sense of the upheaval that these filmmakers are creating and will continue to create both within the Orthodox Jewish world and within Israeli society. Many of the Orthodox Jewish women’s films focus on subjects that are voice-less in their community, and topics concerning women’s sexuality are especially noteworthy here. Each in her own way, the filmmakers discussed at length in this article proclaim agency and ask questions concerning the traditionally silenced topic of sexuality. These women are devoted not to religion’s status quo but to Judaism and to their Jewish community. The filmmakers know about the oppression of women in Orthodox Judaism, and they want change. They tend not to view their filmmaking as their inner voice versus their community’s voice—they embrace both and build a home for both.

The issue’s webpage can be found at https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/shofar/currentissue.html