Professor Gideon Aran: Euphemism and Silence

A society in crisis tends to deal with control over the body and is occupied with ensuring its intactness, and also shows increased interest in its reproduction. In the Haredi era the subject of producing or replicating the proper Jew has become a task of supreme importance that almost entirely dominates community life.

Written By Professor Gideon Aran

Gideon AranThis includes efforts to shape the proper body. The correct Haredi body is formed and supervised in mainly negative formal and informal ways: rather than presenting youngsters with an ideal model and preaching to them about qualities that should be adopted, they point to examples of deviance to be avoided, and warn of indecent attributes from which one must free oneself.

The Haredi boy is mostly taught how not to behave. His world is filled with bodily prohibitions, all of which are accompanied by threats and scares. From childhood to adolescence he is constantly told by his parents, teachers and others in the community, “don’t cross your legs”, “don’t kneel down (like a Christian)”, “don’t lounge about on the sofa”, “take your hands out of your pockets”, “don’t jump around”, “don’t look at your reflection in shop windows”, “don’t open the top buttons of your shirt, even if it’s hot”, “don’t stroke cats and dogs”, “don’t wrestle with other kids”, “don’t hug your kin”, and so on.

Taken from “Denial Does Not Make The Haredi Body Go Away Ethnography of a Disappearing (?) Jewish Phenomenon”, By Gideon Aran.

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