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HBI celebrates our 20th Anniversary this year and recognizes the vision and leadership of our founding director, Professor Shulamit Reinharz.  In our first 20 years, we have engaged with thousands of scholars, authors, artists and community members around issues of Jews and gender. We have helped create the field of Jewish gender studies and continue to support its growth. 

Be a part of our future by making a donation to the HBI.

Donate to HBI

Upcoming Deadlines

2018 HBI Artist Program
Application deadline:
Wednesday, November 1, 2017

2018 Helen Hammer Translation Prize
Application deadline:
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Upcoming Events

The Long Shadow of the Holocaust: What Childrens' Voices Bring to Holocaust Studies

Talk by Joanna Beata Michlic, Panel Discussion, Book Launch

Mon. Oct. 23, 7 p.m.

Rapaporte Treasure Hall/Goldfarb Library
415 South St., Waltham

Panelists include Joanna Michlic, Laura Jockusch, Harold Bursztajn, Liah Greenfeld. Moderated by Lisa Fishbayn Joffe

RSVP Recommended

Matchmaking and Medieval Family Dynamics: Did Parents Ever Have the Final Word?

Elisheva Baumgarten explores the myth of arranged marriages in the time before modernity. 

Mon., Oct. 30, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Brandeis University
Rapaporte Treasure Hall/Goldfarb Library
415 South St., Waltham

Reception to follow.
For more information contact: tauber@brandeis.edu or call 781-736-2125

Sponsored by The Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry, The Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies with the support of the Valya and Robert Shapiro Endowment, HBI.

"The Book of Blessings: A Feminist Liturgy for Our Times" with Marcia Falk 

Monday, November 6, 7:30 p.m.

International Lounge, Usdan 
Brandeis University, 415 South St., Waltham

Nov. 7, noon

Webinar: Conversations with Extraordinary Women
Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, S.J.D, Director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute interviews Marcia Falk.
Click here to register

Movie: Dimona Twist

Saturday, Nov. 11, 6:30 p.m.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Sponsored by HBI and the Boston Jewish Film Festival 
Introduction by HBI Director Lisa Fishbayn Joffe

GCRL Lunchtime Seminars

The lectures meet on Mondays from 12:30pm to 2:00pm in the Liberman-Miller Lecture Hall at HBI. A kosher lunch will be provided. Click here for schedule.

Latest Publications

Penina WeinbergHBI Blog: Fresh Ideas

Sephardic Women's Voices

Gender and Justice bookcoverGender and Justice in Family Law Disputes
A Season of Singing bookcoverA Season of Singing: Creating Feminist Jewish Music in the U.S.
A Season of Singing bookcoverGirls of Liberty: The Struggle for Suffrage in Mandatory Palestine
Jewish Families in Europe bookcoverJewish Families in Europe

 Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social RevolutionLove, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution

The Polygamy QuestionThe Polygamy Question

Joffe and Banda book coverWomen's Rights and Religious Law

Ornit RozinA Home for All Jews

The Strangers We BecameThe Strangers We Became

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

Inbar Raveh - Feminist Rereadings of Rabbic LiteratureFeminist Rereadings of Rabbinic Literature


Four Men and a Woman ebookFour Men and a Woman

Chana Maisel: Agricultural Training for WomenChana Maisel: Agricultural Training for Women

For the Love of the FatherFor the Love of the Father

The Audacity of HolinessThe Audacity of Holiness: Orthodox Women's Theater in Israel

KnishKnish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food


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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.

The Long Shadow of the Holocaust: What Childrens' Voices Bring to Holocaust Studies

book: Jewish Families in Europe

Talk by Joanna Beata Michlic, Panel Discussion, Book Launch
Mon. Oct. 23, 7 p.m.
Rapaporte Treasure Hall/Goldfarb Library
415 South St., Waltham

Joanna Michlic: Founder of HBI's Project on Families, Children, and the Holocaust
Laura Jockusch: Albert Abramson Assistant Professor of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis 
Harold Bursztajn: Assoc. Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard
Liah Greenfeld:University Professor of Sociology, Political Science, Anthropology, Boston University
Lisa Fishbayn Joffe: Director, HBI, panel moderator

RSVP Recommended

Lisa Fishbayn Joffe Named Director of HBI

Originally featured in Brandeis Now on June 12, 2017.

Lisa Fishbyn JoffeBrandeis University has appointed Lisa Fishbayn Joffe to serve as interim director of Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (HBI), effective July 1. Joffe will begin work in the role upon the retirement of HBI founding director Shulamit Reinharz.

Joffe is currently HBI’s associate director, and director of HBI’s Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law and of the Boston Agunah Task Force. In addition to serving as interim director of HBI, Joffe will teach “Gender, Multiculturalism and The Law,” cross-listed in the Philosophy and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies departments. Professor Sylvia Barack Fishman will continue to serve as Co-Director of HBI.

Full article available on Brandeis Now.

Watch our Facebook Live video of Spiritual Sisters: A Poetry Reading by Lesléa Newman and Joy Ladin

Joy Ladin and Leslea Newman

Watch our Facebook Live Video of the German-Jewish Cookbook launch event!

German-Jewish Cookbook

Click here to purchase a book.

HBI Welcomes Fall Helen Gartner Hammer Scholars

Rivka Tuval-Mashiach

Rivka Tuval-Mashiach, Ph.D, is a clinical psychologist and an associate professor of psychology at Bar-Ilan University. Until recently, Rivka Tuval-Mashiachshe served as director of the graduate clinical program and on the steering committee in charge of conferences and special activities. For the last 15 years, she held a joint appointment in the Graduate Program for Gender Studies where she still teaches courses on the women's psychology and mental health, and women’s development along the life cycle. Tuval-Mashiach is also the academic head of the Community Services Unit of NATAL, the Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War. Her research fields include coping with trauma and stress, identity challenges and identity re-construction in coping with trauma and illness, emerging adulthood, narratives of gender, and the development of narrative theory and qualitative methodologies. Her clinical work focuses on individual and collective responses to trauma, mainly using narrative approaches to study identity reconstruction processes in the aftermath of traumatic events. More recently, she is focusing on trauma narratives, at both the individual and collective levels, as the main therapeutic tool in her work. Tuval-Mashiach published two books and many peer reviewed papers on these topics including Narrative Research: Reading, Analysis and Interpretation (Sage, 1998, with Professor Amia Lieblich and Dr.Tammar Zilber) and Narrative Research: Theory, Interpretation and Creation, in Hebrew, with Dr. Gabriella Spector-Mersel. Her current research project deals with parents of soldiers, and their experieces and attitudes towards their son’s enlistment to combat service.

Uriel Simonsohn

Uriel SimonsohnUriel Simonsohn is a lecturer at the department for Middle Eastern History at the University of Haifa. Simonsohn's research focuses on he shared social and cultural histories of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the early Islamic period. He is the author of A Common Justice: The Legal Allegiances of Christians and Jews under Early Islam (Penn UP, 2011) and has published several articles on topics such as extra-confessional litigation, conversion to Islam, intermarriage, and legal and historiographic adaptations in the context of interreligious encounters. At present, Simonsohn is working on a book project, tentatively titled Heroines of Change: Feminine Power and Religious Affinities in the Medieval Islamic Period, in which he will discuss the role of women as agents of religious knowledge and practice in the early Islamic period. Dr. Simonsohn's publications can be found here .

Miriam Offer

Miriam OfferMiriam Offer is a senior lecturer at Western Galilee Academic College, Akko, Israel. And an expert researcher on Jewish medical activity during the Holocaust. Her book, White Coats Inside the Ghetto: Jewish Medicine in Poland During the Holocaust, was published in Hebrew in April 2015 by Yad Vashem, and the English edition is currently in process. While researching the history of medicine and physicians in the Shavli Ghetto in Lithuania, Miriam exposed previously undiscovered valuable diaries and archival documents. She is currently conducting a series of studies on Jewish medical activity immediately prior to, during, and after the Holocaust. Offer is a partner in research and educational initiatives on the history of medicine during the Holocaust. Inter alia, she is a member of the organizational scientific committee of the Nahariya Conferences on Medicine and the Holocaust, initiated by Prof. Shaul Shasha, and is a scientific committee member and guide for “Witnesses in White”—organized trips to Poland for physicians—under the auspices of the Israel Medical Association. Offer was one of the founders of the Hedva Eibschitz Institute for Holocaust Studies in Haifa, where she served as Director from 1988 to 1993. As scholar-in-residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University, Offer is currently devoting her time to researching Jewish women on the frontline of the medical services in the ghettos during the Holocaust.

Tribute Video for Shula Reinharz's Retirement

On June 30, 2017, Shula Reinharz, HBI founding director, will retire. Watch her tribute video. 

Donors Support the Fund for the Future of the HBI Campaign

The HBI gratefully acknowledges and thanks the following leadership donors for their support of the Fund for the Future of the HBI Campaign. Their generosity gives HBI the resources to sustain success and grow in new ways.

Phyllis Hammer
Sylvia Neil
Laura Schor
Debs Weinberg

$75,000 - $99,999
Elaine Reuben

$25,000 - $74,999
Rita and Irwin Blitt
Leslie and Michael Gaffin
Shulamit and Jehuda Reinharz
Annie Sandler

$10,000 - $24,999
Suzanne Priebatsch
Diane Troderman
Arnee R. and  Walter A. Winshall
Jane Zolot

$1,000 - $9,999
Talia Carner
Tony Hananel
Liliane Targownik

*as of 6/23/17

View complete donor list.

HBI Hosted Helène Aylon​ Exhibit  

The HBI hosted Helène Aylon during the 2017 spring semester.  This groundbreaking, Jewish, feminist artist has created an installation in the Kniznick Gallery of the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University as part of the year-long celebration of HBI's founding director, Shulamit Reinharz, who will retire at the end of June 2017.

Afterword: For the Children
Access online catalogue.

Helene Aylon

Internationally-acclaimed Jewish feminist artist Helène Aylon presented her conclusion to The G-d Project: Nine Houses Without Women, her 20-year series highlighting the dismissal of women in Jewish traditions and text. In Afterword: For the Children, Aylon dedicated her finale in the series to the future generations, challenging all who regard The Ten Commandments not to shrug off a dark foreboding which emanates in her view, from the patriarchy - not from God.  

The text of the Second Commandment holds future generations responsible for the sins of their fathers. The artist’s examination of this text revealed a universal dilemma through its connection to contemporary policies and practices that shape the world our children will inherit. The concept of “Tikkun Olam” (correction of the world) holds significance in Aylon’s immersive digital installation, as her continuous attempt at “repairing” the revered text becomes​ a​ quiet yet assertive protest.

Aylon's exhibition "Afterword: For the Children" will travel to the Jerusalem Biennale 2017, opening on October 1, 2017.

Note: The HBI is postponing applications for the Artist-in-Residence program until October 2017.


On February 2, 2017, HBI partnered with ORA and J-FAB in a panel that discussed the plight of agunot and the halachic prenup. Panelists included Rabbi Jeremy Stern Director of ORA, Rabbi Aryeh Klapper of the Boston Beit Din and Boston Agunah Taskforce,  Elizabeth Schön Vainer the Outreach and Program Director from Journey to Safety, at Boston's Jewish Family and Children's Service, and Rachel Light, a former agunah. The event was moderated by HBI's Lisa Fishbayn Joffe

Watch event in its entirety. Note: The stream will pause during Rachel Light's commentary, which we were not permitted to record, but will resume. 

Deis Impact logo

polygamy title page

In case you missed the event on January 30, 2017, you can watch it in its entirety below:

Boston Agunah Taskforce Named Semi-finalist, Lippman-Kanfer Prize

Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah names the Boston Agunah Taskforce as a semi-finalist for the Lippman-Kanfer Prize for Applied Jewish Wisdom.  The Boston Agunah Taskforce is devoted to research, education and advocacy for fairness in the Jewish divorce process. The Taskforce believes that withholding a Jewish divorce is a form of domestic abuse.BATF logo

HBI Partners with JOFA for Free Webinar: Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families

How do young women and men feel about sex, love, and marriage? Who gets married and when? How do couples and individuals decide about children? What are the changing faces of modern Jewish families and what do diverse families mean for American Jewish life today?

On May 12, 2016,  JOFA and HBI partnered for a free webinar with Professor Sylvia Barack Fishmaneditor of Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution and Dr. Michelle Shain, author of the chapter "Dreams and Realities: American Jewish Young Adults' Decisions about Fertility." Amy Powell, communications director at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, moderated the discussion.

This is a co-production with: JOFA logo

HBI Gives $70,000 in Research Awards

With titles ranging from “The Rise of Orthodox Jewish Women Comic Artists in Israel” from Noa Lea Cohn of Bar Ilan University and “The Reception of the Diary of Anne Frank: What the Japanese Search for and See in Anne,” from Mina Muraoka of the National Defense Academy of Japan, HBI recently distributed $70,000 for 25 Research Awards. Together, these awards highlight many of the values dear to HBI: supporting a range of projects true to the HBI mission, continuing support for established scholars in the field of Jews and gender and nurturing the careers of junior scholars.

To choose the annual research awards, HBI works with its Academic Advisory Committee, comprised of 160 experts and academics from 52 schools in eight countries, to read the proposals and comment over a review period. The process culminates with a day-long meeting at HBI in December to discuss the best proposals. Final decisions are made by Prof. Sylvia Barack Fishman, HBI’s co-director and chair of the AAC, along with Prof. Shulamit Reinharz, HBI’s founding director, Dr. Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, associate director of HBI and director of the HBI Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law, and HBI academic programs manager, Deborah Olins. The research awards divide into sub-categories that include History, Israel and the Yishuv; Families, Children and the Holocaust; Diaspora Studies; Judaism; Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law; Biography; Film and Video; and Arts.

The 2016 AAC meeting also provided an opportunity to celebrate HBI’s 20th anniversary and to honor Professor Shulamit Reinharz, HBI’s founding director, who retired in June, 2017.

HBI YouTube channel

Scholarly Research

Artist-in-Residence program

Gilda Slifka Internship Program

Visit our YouTube channel for additional videos on our HBI Conversations program and the Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law.

HBI in the News

The Polygamy Questionedited by Janet Bennion and Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, reviewed by Feminist Legal Studies and Reading Religion: A Publication of American Academy of Religion

Contemporary Jewry reviews Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution, edited by HBI's co-director, Sylvia Barack Fishman.

HBI director, Shulamit Reinharz, WSRC Scholar Jutta Lindert, et. al, publish paper on Psychopathology of Children of Genocide Survivors: A Systematic Review on the Impact of Genocide on Their Children‘s Psychopathology from Five Countries.

The JOFA Journal reviews Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution, edited by HBI co-director, Sylvia Barack Fishman.

Former SIR, Lori Harrison-Kahan, wins Western Literature Association's Don D. Walker Prize for research done at HBI on her paper, Miriam Michelson’s Yellow Journalism and the Multi-Ethnic West. 

Congratulations to Julia Creet, former HBI scholar-in-residence and AAC member; Sara R. Horowitz, AAC member, and Amira Bojadzija-Dan, for winning the Canadian Jewish Book award in the category of Jewish Thought and Culture for H.G. Adler: Life, Literature, Legacy (Northwestern University Press).

HBI Board member, Talia Carner, discusses her Jewish identity in The Times of Israel.

Orit Rozin’s new book, A Home for All Jews: Citizenship, Rights, and National Identity in the New Israeli State, in the Brandeis Series on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law, gets a rave review in The New Rambler.

Rivka Neriya-Ben Shahar, former HBI scholar-in-residence, writes about how women in two devout communities cope with the Internet, in Negotiating agency: Amish and ultra-Orthodox women’s responses to the Internet in the journal, New Media and Society.

Great review in Mooney on the Theatre on the work of former HBI Scholar-in-residence,  Katka Reszke, a Polish filmmaker for "We Keep Coming Back.”

HBI Intern, Nora Smolonsky, writes in Mayyim Hayyim’s blog, A Visit to Mayyim Hayyim: A Nondenominational Mikveh

HBI Board member Talia Carner speaks on her new book, Hotel Moscow

Janet H. Burstein publsihed  Israeli Mothers in Film:“Re-visioning” Culture, Engendering Autonomy in Project Muse. 

Rave review in Jewish Boston for The Pearl the Slipped it's Shell by Wendy Wolfe Fine, HBI 2016 artist-in-residence.

HBI founding director, Shulamit Reinharz is quoted in the Forward, The Frum Filmmakers Revolutionizing Cinema

Brandeis student newspaper, The Justice, writes Evolving Families about the book launch for Love, Marriage and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution.

HBI's former scholar-in-residence Kathryn Hellerstein in The Daily Pennsylvanian on influential women in the Yiddish tradition.