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The Myth of Jewish History

Miriam ShavivFilmed at JDOV Live with the JC and JW3

Several years ago, Miriam Shaviv helped found a Partnership Minyan, an Orthodox service where women take on more roles, such as reading from the Torah. One of the objections that they have consistently faced is that their practice is not “authentic”, disrupts 2,000 years of unbroken tradition and is a dangerous change to the status quo. Is there, however, such a thing as “authentic” Jewish tradition? In this talk, Miriam shows that this is a myth which stems from our lack of familiarity with the history of Judaism (as opposed to the history of the Jews, which is widely studied). Although we are a people who claim to revere history, we seem to prefer myths. She examines why this is the case, and argues that Orthodoxy must become much more familiar with and honest about its past, if it wants to secure its future.

Miriam Shaviv is a Jewish Chronicle columnist. She was previously the paper’s foreign editor and opinion editor, and has also held senior editorial positions at Times Higher Education Magazine and The Jerusalem Post, where she was literary editor and Knesset correspondent. She is currently co-director of Brainstorm Digital, an online marketing agency. In her spare time, she volunteers as gabbait (warden) of the Borehamwood Partnership Minyan.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License

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