Lev-On, Azi, and Neriya-Ben Shahar, Rivka. 2011. A forum of their own: Views about the Internet among ultra-Orthodox Jewish women who browse designated closed forums. First Monday, 16(4).

The paper studies attitudes towards and perceptions of the Internet by ultra-Orthodox women who are members of closed online forums. The forums constitute a unique environment for ultra-Orthodox women, where they can talk amongst themselves anonymously on issues that may be illegitimate in their community. Findings show that the ultra-Orthodox women who browse closed designated forums view the Internet as constructive and empowering, but also as a challenge to the ultra-Orthodox lifestyle. They acknowledge that the rabbis allow using the Internet only for work-related purposes from the workplace and not from home, and yet they formed online relationships, especially with other ultra-Orthodox women. The findings demonstrate a sense of ambivalence among the ultra-Orthodox women about the Internet. As independent women living in communities with strict supervision and enforcement patterns, they want to continue and be a part of the ultra-Orthodox community, and yet maintain a site, i.e., a forum, of their own.


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