Reproducing Jews and Beyond
The process of reproducing Jews via reproductive technology has re-
vealed significant ‘‘facts’’ about where Jews come from. This process
has sharpened our understanding of the Jewish grammar of person-
hood and has illuminated the rabbinic belief that genes are not privi-
leged as determinants of relatedness; nowhere is this belief more in
evidence than in the fact that Jews are now deliberately reproduced
with non-Jewish genetic material. Indeed, since gestation and partu-
rition are understood as the processes through which Jews come into
being, the wombs of Jewish women, both married and unmarried,
have come into focus as central to the enterprise of reproducing Jews.
In chapter 1, I delineated eight stages that illuminate the processes
unmarried Israeli women go through on their way to autonomous
motherhood. We learned how unmarried women negotiate the bu-
reaucratic apparatus surrounding insemination in Israel, how they
employ various rationalizations for their decisions to get pregnant
via artificial insemination, and how they are motivated to mother-
hood for a variety of reasons. Their individual stories must be under-
stood to echo the larger collective discourse about the cultural im-
perative to reproduce.
In chapter 2 we saw how secular legislation regarding reproduc-
tive technology, which is grounded in rabbinic beliefs about the
origins of relatedness, has been constructed in such a way that mar-
riage is no longer the only legitimate site for social and biological
reproduction in Israel. Although the use of artificial insemination by
unmarried women may come under rabbinic criticism and censure
as a social practice, it does not violate rabbinic precepts of related-
ness any more than the use of these technologies by infertile ultra-
orthodox couples. In other words, since marriage does not neces-
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