This study considers whether and in what ways graphic novel adaptations of traditional Jewish Hebrew texts can encourage adolescent Modern Orthodox girls to adopt autonomous critical responses when encountering narratives that present women in unequal roles vis a vis men. According to scholars, Jewish literacy should teach students to read traditional Hebrew texts reverently while forming autonomous interpretations and opinions. Instead, Jewish educators teach normative readings posed by approved rabbinic authorities. This is particularly the case when teaching issues relating to gender among Modern Orthodox Jews, a conservative Jewish denomination, strives to synthesize tradition with the values of modern, secular society. I therefore explore through think-alouds and semi-structured interviews to explore graphic novel adaptations of Jewish texts’ potential to give adolescents opportunities to voice autonomous, critical interpretations. Findings show that adolescents, through graphic novel adaptations of traditional Jewish texts are able to engage in critical readings of the source material. Participants admitted that while they inherently imagined scenes to unfold in a certain way, they never spent time deeply considering the assumptions such imagined details led them to make. Thus, reading graphic novel adaptations did not lead participants to uniformly challenge their understood rabbinic metanarratives, but instead generally made them question their own personal imaged narratives.
"“It Kind Of Shows the Terrible Morality of This Scene": Using Graphic Novels to Encourage Feminist Readings of Jewish Hebrew Texts with Religious Significance,"
Journal of Multilingual Education Research: Vol. 11, Article 5.
Available at: https://research.library.fordham.edu/jmer/vol11/iss1/5