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Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism (Jewish Cultures of the World) Paperback – November 15, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Jewish Cultures of the World
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (November 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081355389X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813553894
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #390,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Benor's engaging and innovative study of language and identity surprises, delights, and educates. Becoming Frum is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand Jewish language and culture today."
(Mary Bucholtz department of lingustics, University of California, Santa Barbara 2011-11-17)

Becoming Frum offers a nuanced visual and sound portrait of Orthodox Jewish life, enabling us to hear the way individuals’ identities evolve.”
(Samuel Heilman department of sociology, Queens College, CUNY 2011-11-17)

"This volume by Benor is a sociolinguistic study of non-Orthodox Jews becoming frum (religious) by returning to the beliefs and practices of Orthodox Jewish life. Nine well-researched chapters underscore the state of hesitation, decision, and action of returnees. Becoming Frum encodes dress change, eating habits, social outlook, and an impressive array of 'dos and don'ts' that will identify the newly observant. Very informative is Benor's investigative scrutiny of frumster speech (religious Yinglish). This is a strong ethnographic study of issues and lessons related to becoming religiously Orthodox observant. Recommended."
(Choice 2013-06-01)

About the Author

SARAH BUNIN BENOR is an associate professor of contemporary Jewish studies at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. She has published and lectured widely on sociolinguistics, Jewish languages, and Orthodox Jews.


More About the Author

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. In her spare time, she enjoys family time with her husband, Mark, and their three daughters, Aliza, Dalia, and Ariella. See details at her faculty website (http://huc.edu/faculty/faculty/benor.shtml) and her book website (http://becomingfrum.weebly.com/index.html).

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. E. Hodge on February 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
A few years ago I participated in an online survey, conducted by Prof. Benor together with sociologist Steven M. Cohen. The survey asked about Jewish language usage, e.g., Does one say "temple," "synagogue," or "shul"; Is one more likely to name one's children Dylan & Jennifer; or Jacob & Hannah; or Moyshe & Rivkie; &c. The survey also correlated these with questions about one's involvement in Jewish life at different levels. Anyway, I participated in the survey & enjoyed it.

Then recently I got an e-mail from Professor Benor saying her book has now been published. I "bit," & I'm glad I did, because I found it fascinating. So much of what she reports matches what those of us in the Jewish community have observed, & also explains things & puts them in a context.

I also found the book sad, in that it confirms what we already know - that American Orthodoxy seems to be deliberately developing into a separate culture, distinct from both the rest of general American life & the rest of Jewish life in America.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Einstein Schorr on April 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came to the book with a positive bias, having heard Dr. Benor speak on the subject of Jewish languages several times over the past few years. While I expected to get a lot out of the book, I was taken aback as to how accessible Dr. Benor made her academic material for the non-academic reader. Research can often read like a tome of dry facts. Not the case with "Becoming Frum." The balance between statistics and anecdotal prose was perfect. For anyone interested in the process of becoming observant and for those who love language, this is a must-read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lewyn VINE VOICE on March 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
Most of the books published about Jews who become ritually observant focus on intellectual issues (why they become observant), what practices they adopt, or how they get along with less observant Jews.

This book is more specialized; it focuses on language, as opposed to practices mandated by traditional Jewish law. For example, there are many phrases that are common among Orthodox Jews (especially "black hat" or "yeshivish" Jews, as opposed to "modern Orthodox" Jews) which newly observant Jews often adopt in varying degrees.

Benor guides us through these practices and where they come from. In particular, she notes that Orthodox Jews tend to use lots of "loan words" from Hebrew and Yiddish. Even when speaking purely in English, these Jews adopt phrases that make no grammatical sense in English, but make sense in Yiddish. I have visited (and lived in) a variety of Orthodox communities and synagogues, and have noticed some of the same phrases Benor notices- but until reading this book I never knew where they came from.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brunobabashay on July 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I truly believe this author would make a good reality show. Reading this is like watching a lighthearted educational documentary. This is a good thing!!! Very talented at her craft . The cover photo is so compelling, just imagine the writing. Brilliant as well as informative. I really liked this book. I will keep the authors name on my lists of favorites. She is awesome.
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