Parental and Professional Perspectives of Child Risk and Protection in Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Community

Rivka Keesing, Netanel Gemara, Mani Pollak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter presents the findings of a qualitative research project that examined ultra-Orthodox (UO) Jewish perceptions and ascribed meanings of child risk and protection based on 85 in-depth interviews with UO parents and professionals working within the community in Israel. We present four main themes involving the vulnerability of UO children to risk and means for their protection: (1) Child independence; the way UO parents construct independence versus risk enables them to assess the ways in which young children function in endangering surroundings; (2) The individual and the community; the relationship between the two and the specific forces involved in this interaction; (3) The spiritual context; in many ways, this issue affects all of the findings, as it has a major influence on training, prevention, and intervention efforts; and (4) Prevention of sexual abuse; UO society is systematically raising public awareness of sexual abuse, including its prevention, treatment, and implications on the children’s well-being. It is also dealing with the unique challenges the community faces due to this sensitive issue. In the discussion, we argue that when seeking to identify the causes of risk in the life of an UO child, one must be cognizant of the fact that risk is placed in different locations from where we might assume. These locations exist in physical or conceptual dimensions. Therefore, we must note the following issues: (1) unique risk situations in the communal zone; (2) risk lies where support ends; and (3) the treatment response can be intervention or invasion.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChild Maltreatment
Subtitle of host publicationContemporary Issues in Research and Policy
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameChild Maltreatment: Contemporary Issues in Research and Policy
ISSN (Print)2211-9701
ISSN (Electronic)2211-971X

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Health(social science)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Parental and Professional Perspectives of Child Risk and Protection in Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Community'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this