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Reproducing Jews a Cultural Account of Assisted Conception in Israel

by Susan Martha Kahn

  • ISBN: 9780822326014
  • ISBN10: 0822326019

Reproducing Jews a Cultural Account of Assisted Conception in Israel

by Susan Martha Kahn

  • List Price: $99.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Duke Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 11/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780822326014
  • ISBN10: 0822326019
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Description: There are more fertility clinics per capita in Israel than in any other country in the world. This phenomenon is not the result of high rates of infertility but of the centrality and political importance that the Jewish community has placed on reproduction. It was this statistic that prompted Susan Martha Kahn to embark on an ethnographic study of the social uses, cultural meanings, and contemporary rabbinic responses to Israel's methods of artificial reproduction.

To support her analytical perspectives Kahn draws on interviews with unmarried Israeli women who are using state-subsidized artificial insemination to get pregnant and her own experiences as a participant-observer in Israeli fertility clinics. After analyzing rabbinic kinship cosmology through close readings of relevant traditional Jewish texts, she explains how new reproductive technologies have been accommodated and even embraced by orthodox rabbis in Israel. Above all, Reproducing Jews reveals how unmarried Jewish women are explicitly valued as reproductive resources in Israel, whether they are encouraged to donate eggs for married Jewish women when undergoing their own fertility treatments, privileged as surrogate mothers in Israel's surrogacy legislation, or encouraged to reproduce autonomously via new reproductive technologies. Unlike birth control, Kahn explains, artificial insemination, ovum donation, and in-vitro fertilization are subsidized by Israeli national health insurance and provided by fertility specialists who have emerged as global leaders in the research and development of these technologies.

As the first scholarly account of assisted conception in Israel, this multi-sited ethnography will contributeto current anthropological debates on kinship studies. It will also interest those involved with Jewish studies.

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