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In The Cultural Analysis Paradigm: Women and Synagogue Ritual as a Case Study, I demonstrate that a cultural analysis of halakhah views the norms of female ritualistic participation concerning being called to, and reading from the Torah as the result of environment, conditioning, history, and context, rather than as an unalterable mandate. To my knowledge, the idea that halakhah should be understood through a cultural analysis lens has not previously been explored in either the legal or Jewish studies literature. The paradigm developed in the Article was based on an extensive review of the cultural analysis literature and represents an original attempt to identify the major themes in the writings of those scholars who rely on a more culturally nuanced approach to the law. Toward that end, I identified five factors that explain the relationship between law and culture. The last factor, the interrelationship between law and culture, illustrates that law and culture are deeply intertwined and cannot be separated from one another. In fact, the Article emphasizes that this factor is “the most all-encompassing characteristic” of my cultural analysis paradigm, and it features an extensive analysis of this interconnection in the context of women publicly reading from the Torah and receiving aliyyot. Surprisingly, however, this fundamental premise did not resonate with Mr. Zadoff in his critique. Instead, he claims that my assessment classifies “the cultural as something external to the law.” To set the record straight, my Article argues that the cultural and the legal are deeply embedded with one another.


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