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Keywords:

  • [assisted conception;
  • religious Judaism;
  • Israel;
  • power relations;
  • authoritative knowledge;
  • medicalization]

ABSTRACT

Drawing on my ethnography of rabbinically mediated fertility treatments for observant Jewish couples in Israel, I illuminate two simultaneous processes: the koshering of medical care and the medicalization of rabbinic law. My findings show how hands-on rabbinic interventions transform doctor–patient relations into rabbi–doctor–patient relations and introduce a network of power relations into clinical practice, at times empowering and at times disempowering patients. This case prompts a reconsideration of scholars’ tendency to view biomedicine in hegemonic terms.