Differentiation in the Gender Segregation Rules of Ultra-Orthodox Judaism

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The strict modesty standards of the ultra-Orthodox society are observed mainly within the confines of the community; however, Hasidic women are allowed to conduct business and employment connections with men outside the community, and to conduct themselves in accordance with the accepted social norms within these relationships. This differentiation was common in the past, in Eastern European Ashkenazi society. The rationale behind this behavior is that modesty rules are observed in cases of contact with significant men. Men outside the community undergo a process of desexualization as if they were animals, so that gender discipline can be relaxed in their presence. This leads to the seemingly absurd result whereby it is specifically in the presence of men who act in accordance with liberal norms that the stringent modesty rules are not observed. The leniency regarding the rules also stems from the perception that the sexual desires of a woman are weaker than those of a man. They are also not fully obligated to worship God. Therefore, when financial constraints require contact beyond the limits of the community, the women fill the bill.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-106
Number of pages19
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Hasidic women
  • gender segregation
  • ultra-Orthodox Judaism


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