A Peephole into the World of Ultra-Orthodox Men

A beautifully written, engaging ethnographic study, DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH: INSIDE ULTRA-ORTHODOX JEWRY [Schocken Books, NY, 1992, $27.50 hardcover, $18.00 paper] might better have been subtitled “Inside Half of Ultra-Orthodox Jewry.” The author, Samuel Heilman, an American “modern-Orthodox” anthropologist, takes us as far as he can in observing this insular community which maintains strict rules of gender segregation. In the following excerpt. Beryl, a rather typical man about to be married, shares his ignorance and fears of sex:

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