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Upcoming Events

March 4
(Fast of Esther, no lunch provided)
Aryeh Klapper, Center for Modern Torah Leadership
"She Did Not Marry Herself Off With That in Mind: Recent and Potential Uses of a Talmudic Mechanism for Resolving Agunah Situations"

March 11
10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Anat Livshits, The New School for Social Research
"In The State’s Sponsorship: Planning of Support Services in Israel for Agunot and their Families"

Screening of "Gett," featuring Q&A with Susan Weiss, director of the Center for Women's Justice
Tuesday, March 10
7 p.m.
Wasserman Cinematheque, Brandeis University
Co-sponsored with Edie and Lew Wasserman Fund, Film, Television and Interactive Media and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies

Hadassah Northeast Women's Empowerment Conference

Sunday, March 15
8:30 a.m. - 3:15 a.m.

Bentley University Conference Center
175 Forest Street, Waltham, MA



Milcah Bassel | Father Tongue
Artist’s Talk: Monday, March 30,  1:30-3:00 pm

In residence: March 16 - April 10
Exhibition: April 13 - July 16
Opening Reception: Monday, April 13, 5-8 pm

Upcoming Deadlines

HBI Student Prize

Application deadline:
Wednesday, April 15, 2014

Program details

HBI Seminar Series - Fresh Voices: Jewish Women Writers from North America (Spring 2016)

Application deadline:
Thursday, May 16, 2015

Program details

Boston Agunah Taskforce

Boston Agunah Taskforce

Learn more

Latest Publications

Brave Girls Want

The HBI Blog: Fresh Ideas from HBI
From Scalding to Prodding: Is This Any Way to Get Divorced? by Amy Sessler Powell

614: The HBI eZine

614: The HBI eZine
Do Jews Need God?


Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food
The one and only absolutely definitive biography of the knish

Marcia Falk, The Days Between

The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season
An elegantly designed volume of new English and Hebrew prayers and reflections for the High Holidays from a contemporary American poet

Inbar Raveh - Feminist Rereadings of Rabbic Literature

Feminist Rereadings of Rabbinic Literature
Novel readings of rabbinic literature from the perspective of feminism and gender reading theories

The Audacity of Holiness

The Audacity of Holiness: Orthodox Women's Theater in Israel
The first book in the HBI eBook collection

Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues

Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues
Gender and the Holocaust: New Research
Consulting Editor: Dalia Ofer

Fresh Ways of Thinking About Jews and Gender Worldwide

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The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute develops fresh ways of thinking about Jews and gender worldwide by producing and promoting scholarly research, artistic projects and public engagement.

The world's only academic center of its kind, the HBI provides research resources and programs for scholars, students and the public. The Institute publishes books and a journal, convenes international conferences and local programming, and offers competitive grant and internship programs.

We invite you to explore our website and experience the impact of the HBI.

HBI Observes Yom ha'Agunah

As we approach the Jewish holiday Purim, we pause on the Fast of Esther, also known as Yom ha’Agunah, March 4, a day Jewish women have designated to protest the ongoing plight of agunot, women stuck in bad marriages because they cannot get a Jewish divorce known as a get. Under Jewish law, only the husband can grant the divorce.

HBI is proud to mark this day with a host of ongoing initiatives designed to bring resources, scholarship and activism to this complicated issue.  These include:

  • The Agunah Task Force: designed to expand understanding of gender inequality under Jewish divorce law and identify ways of addressing it; collaboration between the HBI Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law (GCRL), the Center for Modern Torah Leadership, Chabad of the North Shore with generous funding from The Miriam Fund.
  • New Approaches to the Agunah Problem: the spring seminar led by Dr. Lisa Fishbayn Joffe and with visiting scholars Rabbi Aryeh Klapper, Dr. Haim Sperber and Dr. Susan Weiss. Click here for a schedule of lunchtime talks.
  • Getyourget.com: web tool containing information, education resources and advocacy about the get, how to get one, who needs one
  • Special screening of Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, followed by discussion led by Susan Weiss, Tuesday, March 10, 7 p.m., Wasserman Cinematheque, Brandeis University, Free
  • From Scalding to Prodding: Is This Any Way to Get Divorced? In Fresh Ideas From HBI: The HBI Blog.

What our former scholars say about their HBI experience:

Ornat Turin, HBI Scholar-in-Residence, Spring, 2014

At HBI, I experienced an organization that involves art, activism and academic research, to create a new organizational culture. I would like to incorporate some of it at home.  It was an opportunity to acquire my own identity in the inter-cultural encounters with the Jewish community of Brandeis. I worked on research within a team in way that enhanced the intellectual discourse as I collaborated with fascinating women from all around.”

Irina Rebrova, HBI-BGI Scholar-in-Residence, Spring, 2014

“I was the first scholar-in-residence at the HBI and BGI (Brandeis-Genesis Institute for Russian Jewry). I’m thankful for this unique opportunity for researchers from the former Soviet Union to continue their studies in the U.S.A. The libraries at Brandeis University and HBI have an excellent collection of books on Judaism, gender and Soviet Jewish history. The consultations with American colleagues in my research field as well as the research visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. helped me to prove my statements. I’m happy to become an HBI Research Associate and to be a part of HBI’s creative staff. ”  

Brygida Gasztold, Fulbright Scholar, 2013-2014 academic year

“I loved being here, taking part in scholarly debate, conferences, colloquia and being part of the scholarly life at Brandeis. I went to many events, not only related to my field, but also went to films, art exhibitions, gender and culture events, legal forums and different synagogues.  It is interesting and important that foreign scholars are able to exchange information and ask questions, get the view and context of things I wouldn’t get in Poland from the expertise of people who work here.”

HBI in the News

HBI supported books were highlighted in the Brandeis NOW article "Brandeis alumni and scholars win prestigious book awards."

Laura Silver, author of HBI published Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food, is quoted in the Boston Globe article "What's in a knish, anyway?" about local knish-serving restaurants.

Spirituality & Practice reviews HBI author Marcia Falk's The Days Between: Blessings, Poems and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season.

Joana Michlic, Director of the HBI Project on Families, Children and the Holocaust, has her latest book reviewed in the Humanities and Social Sciences Online article "Eastern and Central European Countries Reckoning With Their Unuseable Pasts."

Keren McGinty, HBI Research Associate, writes about gender inequality in academic positions in "In Jewish Studies, Women Remain 'Second Sex'" in the Jewish Daily Forward.

Susan Weiss, our new Estanne Fawer scholar-in-residence, writes more about revoked conversions and where unchecked power in rabbinical courts may lead Israel in the Jerusalem Post article "Tolerating the intolerable: State revocation of religious conversions."

Susan Weiss, Center for Women's Justice founder and HBI Estanne Fawer scholar-in-residence, takes on Israeli rabbinate in this case of a canceled conversion, covered in the Times of Israel article "Top court backs rabbis who revoked conversion over secular lifestyle."

Rabbi Aryeh Klapper, a Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar-in-residence, discusses Jewish law and torture in Tablet Magazine's "Does Jewish Law Allow Torture?"

Gloria Levitas of Moment Magazine reviews Laura Silver's Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food in "A Journey to the Center of the Knish."

HBI author Laura Silver, author of Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food was featured in The Boston Globe's "Self-proclaimed maven on Jewish knishes."

Sharon Siegel, author of HBI published A Jewish Ceremony for Newborn Girls: The Torah’s Covenant Affirmed, is interviewed in the Jewish Week article "The Eighth Day, For Girls."

Brandeis student-run newspaper The Justice covers the Markowicz Memorial Lecture on Gender and Human Rights in "Scholar discusses global challenges."

Sylvia Barack Fishman, HBI co-director, is profiled in the Times of Israel article "Modern Orthodoxy: A model for the great American Jewish dream?"

The Brandeis Hoot praises the HBI Series on Jewish Women and The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season in a recent article.

Marcia Falk's The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season is featured in Jewish Women Magazine's "High Holiday Companion."

Laura Silver's Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food is highlighted in the New York Times' "Obsessions, From Street Food to Rooftops."

Laura S. Schor's book The Best School in Jerusalem: Annie Landau's School for Girls, 1900-1960 is reviewed by the Jewish Book Council.

Marcia Falk and the recent HBI sponsored book tour are featured in the Jewish Daily Forward article "When Yom Kippur Prayers Don't Help With Grieving."

HBI author Elana Sztokman calls for activism in the Tablet article "Orthodox Man Refuses to Sit Next to Feminist Activist on Airplane."

HBI Conversations' Stamford, CT group is highlighted in the Jewish Ledger article "Author! Author! HBI Conversations comes to Connecticut."