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Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism

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Published on Jul 9, 2013

This talk demonstrates how there is more to becoming Orthodox than observing religious laws. Newly Orthodox Jews, or ba'alei teshuva (lit. 'those who return'), encounter a very different culture, including new ways of talking, dressing, and acting. Focusing on the Yiddish- and Hebrew-influenced English speech of Orthodox Jews, this lecture explores how "BTs" integrate into the community partly by taking on these new practices.

Sarah Bunin Benor is Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Hebrew Union College -- Jewish Institute of Religion (Los Angeles campus) and Adjunct Associate Professor in the University of Southern California Linguistics Department. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in Linguistics in 2004. She is the author of Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism (Rutgers University Press, 2012), and she has published and lectured widely about Jewish languages, linguistics, Yiddish, American Jews, and Orthodox Jews. Dr. Benor is founding editor of the Journal of Jewish Languages (Brill) and the Jewish Language Research Website.

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