Study with the Best


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To order Study with the Best, The Encore Series and 'Deis Flicks study guides, contact:

Dania Khandaker
Department Coordinator

Women's Studies


American Women in the 1950s: Exaggerated Contradictions (B44)
By Joyce Antler
Samuel B. Lane Professor of American Jewish History and Culture

This study guide examines the paradoxical nature of women's lives in the 1950s by assembling evidence of the so-called return to domesticity apparent in demographic trends, the suburban exodus, fashion, media and educational indices, while providing documentation of the very real gains women were making in employment, politics, civil rights, arts and culture. Includes excerpts from "The Bell Jar," "Marjorie Morningstar," "I Stand Here Ironing" and the notorious "Modern Woman: The Lost Sex," plus media myths and your experiences.

Double or Nothing: Jewish Families and Mixed Marriage (HBI1)
By Sylvia Barack Fishman
Professor of Contemporary Jewry and American Jewish Sociology

Will the blessings of American openness cause a distinctive, historically authentic Jewish culture to be virtually loved out of existence in the 21st century? What is the impact of mixed marriages on Jews and Judaism? Through interviews with over 250 mixed-faith couples, this study guide sets the stage for interesting discussions.

Finding Common Ground: Jewish Women in a World of Difference (SG4)
By Joyce Antler
Samuel B. Lane Professor of American Jewish History and Culture

"Finding Common Ground: Jewish Women in a World of Difference" is the second part of a study guide to Antler's collection "America and I: Short Stories by American Jewish Women Writers." The guide focuses on the theme of difference in four stories from the book: Anzia Yezierska's title story, "America and I"; Gloria Goldreich's "Z'mira"; Joanne Greenberg's "L'Olam and White Shell Woman"; and Leslea Newman's "A Letter to Harvey Milk." In each of these stories, a Jewish protagonist learns a powerful lesson about the meaning of Jewish identity by reaching out to others and attempting to understand difference.

Jewish Women Shape Modern America: A Study Guide to "The Journey Home: Jewish Women and the American Century" (B51)
By Joyce Antler
Samuel B. Lane Professor of American Jewish History and Culture

This brieflet is a companion to Part I of Antler's book "The Journey Home: Jewish Women and the American Century," a compelling portrait of thoroughly modern women who believed that by improving American society they were achieving Judaism's highest goal—making the world a better place to live.

Leaving Leningrad (HBI7)
By Ludmilla Shtern (partnership with Hadassah-Brandeis Institute)
A widely published writer, Shtern is a resident scholar at Brandeis University's Women's Studies Research Center. "Leaving Leningrad" is a nostalgic and humorous memoir of life under communism and capitalism. An exceptional storyteller, Shtern chooses perfect anecdotes that connect readers to Tatyana's character and growth while providing rich social background and commentary on both Soviet and American life. Get an almost cinematic glimpse of 1960s Leningrad and delight in Shtern's outrageous, intelligent wit in stories that illuminate the increasingly common experience of resettling across borders. Study guide available.

Muslim Societies Speak (HBI3)
(Partnership with Hadassah-Brandeis Institute)

Jewish women from Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon and Iran share their personal stories of growing up in the shadow of religious fundamentalism and social repression. These essays, told through the medium of vivid personal stories, provide a deeper understanding of the world and an appreciation for Jewish women's history in North Africa and the Middle East.

Our Grandmothers, Ourselves: Were Yiddish Writers the First Jewish Feminists? (B39)
By Sylvia Barack Fishman
Professor of Contemporary Jewry and American Jewish Sociology

This brieflet deals with the first chapter of Fishman's book "Follow My Footprints: Changing Images of Women in American Jewish Fiction." Were Yiddish writers the first Jewish feminists? You'll find out in "Our Grandmothers, Ourselves" and the many stories that follow.

The Plough Women (HBI6)
Edited by Mark Raider and Miriam B. Raider-Roth (partnership with Hadassah-Brandeis Institute)

"The Plough Women" reveals a fascinating chapter in the history of pioneer Palestine. First published in 1932—and long out of print—this new edition casts light on the complex arena of Palestine and Zionism as well as the intersection between the early-Jewish nationalist movement and radical feminists at the turn of the 10th and 20th centuries. This fully-annotated edition includes biographies of the book's original contributors, photographs, glossary of terms and a map of pre-state Israeli society. The editors' new introductory essays establish the literary and historical context for these narratives, discuss women in Zionist history and focus on the work and family issues vexing these early pioneers. Study guide and questions for discussion available.

Portrayals of Women in American Jewish Literature (S76)
By Sylvia Barack Fishman
Professor of Contemporary Jewry and American Jewish Sociology

This course focuses on women from the immigrant days of the early 20th century to contemporary America, where feminism, a tightened economy and expanded roles for women reflect changes in the concept of the "ideal Jewish woman." Works to be studied include: "The Open Cage" (Anzia Yezierska); "Tell Me a Riddle" (Tillie Olsen); "Marjorie Morningstar" (Herman Wouk); "Goodbye, Columbus" (Philip Roth); "The Mind-Body Problem" (Rebecca Goldstein); and "The Cannibal Galaxy" (Cynthia Ozick).

Princess or Prisoner? Jewish Women in Jerusalem (HBI4)
By Margalit Shilo (partnership with Hadassah-Brandeis Institute)
This is a fascinating journey into the world of women in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Jerusalem toward the end of Ottoman rule in the Holy Land. Until now, the story of life in the land of Israel in this period has been told exclusively from the male viewpoint—a story of religious observance and fulfillment confined to the male world of Torah study and prayer. (Mix and match with "Purple Lawns" in 'Deis Flicks).

Uncertain Travelers (HBI5)
By Margorie Agosin (partnership with Hadassah-Brandeis Institute)

"Uncertain Travelers" is a book of conversations between the author, Dr. Margorie Agosin, and 11 "travelers" who have emigrated from Europe and Latin America. They are intimate conversations, deep and personal, between friends who have shared the life-changing experience of immigrating. The reader perches on their shoulders, listening and absorbing.

Wedding Song: Memoirs of an Iranian Jewish Woman (HBI2)
By Farideh Goldin

Farideh Goldin was born to her 15-year-old mother in 1953 in a Jewish community living in an increasingly hostile Islamic state: pre-Revolutionary Iran. "Wedding Song" is Goldin's passionate and painful account of growing up in a poor Jewish household and her emigration to the United States in 1975.

Women in the Bible (B36)
By Marc Brettler
Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies 

A study of the women of Genesis, Song of Songs, Ruth and Esther, seen from different outlooks, including anthropological, sociological, literary and gender studies.

Women's Stories, Jewish Lives (SG2)
By Joyce Antler
Samuel B. Lane Professor of American Jewish History and Culture

This guide is designed for use with Antler's edited collection "America and I: Short Stories by American-Jewish Women Writers." The guide discusses four short stories by the authors Mary Antin, Fannie Hurst, Hortense Calisher and Lynne Sharon Schwartz. Each of the stories deals with the interrelated themes of Jewish identity and generational conflict, and each pairs a parent and child who, as the story unfolds, come to present differing views about Judaism and Jewishness; it is told, in every case, from a woman's special point of view.

You Never Call, You Never Write: A History of the Jewish Mother (S118)
By Joyce Antler
Samuel Lane Professor of American Jewish History and Culture

Antler examines one of the best known figures in popular culture—the Jewish mother—through decades of American films, novels, radio and television programs, stand-up comedy acts, and psychological and historical studies.