The State of Desire

Kings Place, London

In recent years Israeli state policies have attempted to dissuade Orthodox Jews from creating large families, an objective that flies in the face of their traditional practices.

As the state’s desire to cultivate a high-income, tech-centred nation comes into greater conflict with common Orthodox familial practices, Jewish couples are finding it increasingly difficult to fulfil their reproductive aims and communal expectations.

Paying close attention to ethical dilemmas, cultural anthropologist Lea Taragin-Zeller joins Karen Skinazi to explore not just proceptive but also contraceptive desires around family formation: when to have children, how many, and at what cost?

Buy a copy of The State of Desire by Lea Taragin-Zeller

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In Association with the British Friends of the Hebrew University

Speaker biography

Lea Taragin-Zeller

Lea Taragin-Zeller is a medical and social anthropologist with research interests in religion, ethics, medical anthropology, gender and reproductive politics. She is Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies and Public Policy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an affiliated scholar at the Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc), University of Cambridge. Lea has published in leading international journals, such as American Anthropologist, Medical Anthropology, and Public Understanding of Science.

Chair biography

Karen Skinazi

Dr Karen E. H. Skinazi is Associate Professor of Literature and Culture and Director of Liberal Arts at the University of Bristol. She is the author of Women of Valor: Orthodox Jewish Troll Fighters, Crime Writers, and Rock Stars in Contemporary Literature and Culture and a regular contributor to The Jewish Chronicle and Jewish Journal. She is currently at work on her first novel, Ness, which was supported by the Genesis Jewish Book Week Emerging Writers Programme and mentored by Tracy Chevalier.

Book Week supporters

Dangoor Education
Eduard Shyfrin and Family
Genesis Foundation
Klein Family Foundation
The National Library of Israel
Pears Foundation
The Edith & Ferdinand Porjes Charitable Fund