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Reproductive Sociology Research Group

Studying at Cambridge


Lea Taragin-Zeller


Lea Taragin-Zeller is a Research Fellow at the Woolf Institute and an affiliated researcher at ReproSoc. Her main research interests lie at the intersection between gender, text, body and religion.

Lea’s Ph.D. dissertation explored the nexus of reproduction and religion in contemporary Israel. It offers an ethnographic account of the ways Jews struggle, question and debate about the meaning of reproduction in a hyper-idealized context of national and religious reproduction. By bringing reproduction studies in conversation with anthropology of religion, it demonstrates unique technologies of self that emerge in the everyday reproductive decisions of religious members. It also highlights the various roles religious authority and gender play in intimate decision making.

Before coming to Cambridge, Lea completed her BA and MA at the department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She was also a fellow at the interdisciplinary program of “Human Rights and Judaism” at the Israeli Democracy Institute. Her master’s thesis focused on modesty practices among female teenagers in ultra-orthodox communities in Israel while stressing the relationship between body practices, gender, text interpretation and religious authority.

Key Publications

Taragin-Zeller, 2019,“Conceiving God’s Children”: Toward a Flexible Model of Reproductive Decision-Making, Medical Anthropology, Online



Taragin-Zeller, Lea, 2019, Towards an anthropology of doubt: the case of religious reproduction in Orthodox Judaism, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 18(1), p. 1-20


Taragin-Zeller, Lea and Stadler, Nurit, 2017, Like a Snake in Paradise: Fundamentalism, Gender and Taboos in the Haredi Community, Archives des Sciences Sociales des Religions


Taragin-Zeller, Lea, 2015, Between Modesty and Beauty: Reinterpreting Female Piety in the Israeli Haredi Community, In: Fishman Barack, Sylvia (ed.), Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families Today:  Paradoxes of the Gender Revolution, Waltham, Massachusetts: Brandeis University Press, pp. 308-326.


Taragin-Zeller, Lea, 2014, Modesty for Heaven's Sake: Authority and Creativity among Female Ultra-Orthodox Teenagers in Israel, Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues, 26, Spring 5774, pp. 75-96.