Midwife; Anthropology; Holistic Medicine; Jewish; Halacha; Minhag; Judaism; Medicine; Medical Education; Cultural Care; Cultural Competency, Birth; Labor; Delivery; Midwifery Clinic; LND, Rabbi; Rebbetzin; Niddah; Tznuis; Women's Health; Cultural Humility; Baby; Reproductive Health


This research study examines Jewish women’s traditions from the perspective of midwives, in the United States (US), particularly midwives in Florida and New York, based on their work caring for women of childbearing age in the Hasidic Ashkenazi and Sephardic Orthodox communities. The reproductive traditions examined in this research may be practiced differently depending on a woman’s degree of religiosity and the rabbinic authorities in their communities. The primary data I collected in this study are based on ethnographic methods, including participant-observation with midwives, and semi-structured interviews with midwives and rebbetzins. The secondary data draws on my analysis of the professional context for the practice of midwifery in the US, and Talmudic texts and rabbinical rulings related to family planning, reproduction, and sexuality education. This study shows how midwives are central to these traditions and facilitate not only the family planning and childbearing experiences, but also the religious practices that go with reproductive healthcare. This research also demonstrates how midwives who take care of Jewish women negotiate on behalf of their patients with the local rabbis to provide care that is patient-centered and clinically recommended on the one hand but is culturally appropriate on the other hand. My research study builds on and contributes to anthropological scholarship about Jewish women and reproductive healthcare, and considers whether, and how, the reproductive health practices of the Hasidic women are surviving in a changing world.

Thesis Completion Year


Thesis Completion Semester


Thesis Chair

Mishtal, Joanna


College of Sciences



Thesis Discipline




Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus Access


Campus Location

Orlando (Main) Campus



Rights Statement

In Copyright