Ben Kasstan “Orthodox Jews, Unorthodox Decisions? Making Bodies Kosher in the Pre and Post-COVID World”
- Location: Engelska parken
- Lecturer: Ben Kasstan
- Contact person: Ben Kasstan
Wednesday 7 October 10.15–12.00 Ben Kasstan (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) “Orthodox Jews, Unorthodox Decisions? Making Bodies Kosher in the Pre and Post-COVID World” EP3-2028/CG B43
From New York and London to Jerusalem, Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews have been framed in public (health) discourse as ignoring - if not defying - social distancing requirements and restrictions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. But to what extent are Orthodox Jews making 'unorthodox' decisions in the way they have been represented by international media? How do established minority-state tensions reflect responses to COVID-19? Drawing on long-term ethnographic research with Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews in the UK and Israel-Palestine, this paper explores the dynamics that underscore public health relations with a seemingly 'hard to reach' or 'non-compliant' minority. By viewing healthcare as a borderland between the state and religious minority groups, we can understand how expectations of bodily governance are negotiated, contested and reconciled.