From Wallflowers to Lonely Trees: Divorced Ultra-Orthodox Women in Israel

Anat Barth, Adital Ben-Ari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The issue of divorced women in the Israeli ultra-Orthodox Jewish community represents an important case in the study of divorced women in religious collective cultures. The unique nature of the ultra-Orthodox Israeli community, dealing with questions of segregation and internalization, conservatism and modernity, as well as inequality of women, might contribute to our understanding of divorcees in such cultures. This article sheds light on the internal process that divorced women undergo. Sixty-one phenomenological in-depth interviews were conducted with 4 groups (divorced women, divorced men, daughters of divorced parents, and professionals who deal with divorce with the ultra-Orthodox community). Results show a distinctive process of individuation that these women undertake, reflecting a fundamental tension between their inner individual perceptions and collective cultural norms. Conclusions suggest that divorced women in collective cultures are able to perform antinormative acts and still find a complex, dualistic way to be integral members of their communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-440
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Divorce and Remarriage
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • collective culture
  • divorce
  • divorced women
  • ultra-Orthodox Jews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Law


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