Over the last quarter century, tensions in Quebec have run high between Hasids and their francophone Québécois neighbors over the question of “reasonable accommodation” of the nonmainstream ethnic group. There is much ignorance about the insular Hasidic communities, and fear by the modern, egalitarian province that Hasidic women are being oppressed. Several francophone writers have exploited this ignorance and fear for their fiction, and their stories of Hasids often appeal through sensationalism (e.g., tales of forbidden love). Malka Zipora, however, entered the fray in 2007 through the mundane: writing as a “Hasidic mom,” she suggests, in her short story collection, Lekhaim!: Chroniques de la vie hassidique à Montréal, that her life, and the lives of her peers, are little different from those of other women, moms, Canadians struggling with brutal winters. Through her universalizing literary bridge, Zipora persuades her readers to rethink positions on fraught issues like the legality of succahs, while also giving voice and agency to Hasidic women, altering their popular perception.
|Published - 2015