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Courtesy Ekemini Uwan
Women Who Choose Rules
January 17, 2018
We meet young Jews, Christians and Muslims who are bucking the 'spiritual but not religious trend' and deciding they want deeper observance in their lives.
Courtesy Alissa Gold
Orthodox Judaism: Alissa Gold January 17, 2018
As a kid, Alissa Gold never imagined she would become an Orthodox Jewish woman who wears long skirts in the summertime and bakes bread every week for the sabbath. She attended the all-female Wellesley College-- bastion of feminism, alma mater of Hillary Clinton-- and assumed that Orthodox women were oppressed. But then she took a trip to to Israel, and finally got a chance to meet some. "I was pretty shocked," she tells us. From 2017.

An update: Alissa tells us she is now "seriously dating a Nice Jewish Boy who shares my Jewish values... We are happily practicing Orthodox Judaism together, and I am continuing to learn and grow and enjoying doing that with him."

Our guest host this week is Emma Green, who writes about religion for The Atlantic. We recommend her 2016 feature on young Jews who gravitate toward Orthodoxy.
Lauren Murphy
Making the Ritual Her Own: Rachell Goldberg January 17, 2018

Rachell Goldberg
 used to see the Jewish ritual of immersing in a mikvah as just another religious obligation--something to check off her to-do list. Nearly every month for thirteen years, she visited a Jewish ritual bath to cleanse herself after her period, a practice commanded in Jewish law. But this time, after enduring seven months of chemotherapy for breast cancer, she's making the ritual her own. From 2017.

An update since this show first aired: Rachell tells us she is finally past her cancer treatment, and in good health. 

Produced by Abigail Holtzman, who wrote an in-depth, print version of Rachell's story for Narratively

Rachel sits on the edge of the mikvah water. Photo credit: Lauren Murphy.
Courtesy Ekemini Uwan
Protestant Christianity: Ekemini Uwan January 17, 2018
Ekemini Uwan is a devout, orthodox Christian who admits she doesn't "check all the boxes" for liberals or conservatives. Her conservative friends bristle at her bold opposition to white supremacy; her liberal friends scoff at her refusal to support gay marriage. And she doesn't apologize for her embrace of traditional gender roles: women and men are "made distinctly," she says. "We are different." From 2017.
Courtesy Fatima Tipu
Islam: Fatima and Hagiraa Tipu January 17, 2018
Fatima and Hagiraa Tipu are sisters. One wears a hijab (a headscarf) for modesty, and the other doesn't. Hagiraa tells her sister that she hopes to wear it one day, but right now she doesn't have the confidence. Her sister understands. "It's going to be tough but you're going to get through it," Fatima tells Hagiraa. "It's for yourself, and it's for God and it's not for anyone else." From 2017.

Courtesy Eve Tushnet
Catholicism: Eve Tushnet January 17, 2018
"What I am is someone who is not, say, available for same-sex romantic or sexual relationships," Eve Tushnet tells us, of her decision to be celibate. Eve is a devout Catholic convert, and takes seriously the Church's prohibition against gay sexual relationships. But that hasn't stopped her from forging deep bonds of friendship. "This is different from the friendship you see on Facebook," she says. "This is a life-shaping form of love." From 2017.

An update: Eve recently
edited the anthology "Christ's Body, Christ's Wounds: Staying Catholic When You've Been Hurt in the Church."
Barry Schwartz: Choosing Religion January 17, 2018
In his 2004 book, The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz argues that unlimited options don't liberate us or make us happier--they paralyze us. He sits down with guest host Emma Green and applies his theory to the subjects of our show: religious women who consciously choose lives with fewer choices and deeper observance. Schwartz says they're on to something. From 2017.

Barry Schwartz is a retired professor of psychology who has written several books about human nature, decision making, and morality.

You can catch his TED talk on the paradox of choice right here.