December 2016

Topic of the Week: Nashim

December 23, 2016

The latest issue of Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues, a publication of HBI, the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and Indiana University Press, is hot off the press.

Here are some of the articles, poems and book reviews:

Reviews include several books with HBI influence including:


Topic of the Week: HBI Books

December 16, 2016

The Polygamy Question, edited by Janet Bennion and Lisa Fishbayn Joffe

Excerpted from University Press of Colorado:

Published by University Press of Colorado and Utah State University Press, The Polygamy Question explores the ways in which indigenous and immigrant polygamous practices have shaped the lives of individuals, communities, and the broader societies that have engaged with it. The book also considers how polygamy challenges our traditional notions of gender and marriage and how it might be effectively regulated to comport with contemporary notions of justice.

The contributors to this volume—scholars of law, anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, and religious studies—disentangle diverse forms of polygamy and polyamory practiced among a range of religious and national backgrounds including Mormon and Muslim. They chart the harms and benefits these models have on practicing women, children, and men, whether they are members of independent families or of coherent religious groups. Contributors also address the complexities of evaluating this form of marriage and the ethical and legal issues surrounding regulation of the practice, including the pros and cons of legalization.

Plural marriage is the next frontier of North American marriage law and possibly the next civil rights battlefield. Students and scholars interested in polygamy, marriage, and family will find much of interest in The Polygamy Question.

Contributors include Kerry Abrams, Martha Bailey, Lori G. Beaman, Janet Bennion, Jonathan Cowden, Shoshana Grossbard, Melanie Heath, Debra Majeed, Rose McDermott, Sarah Song and Irene Strassberg.

The Polygamy Question recently received several favorable reviews in Reading Religion, a publication of the American Academy of ReligionFeminist Legal Studies and in Anthropology Review Database. Additionally, the editors were interviewed on Vermont Public Radio and Utah Public Radio.

Lisa Fishbayn Joffe is the associate director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute where she directs the Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law. Janet Bennion is professor of anthropology at Lyndon State University in Vermont.


Topic of the Week: HBI Books

December 7, 2016

A Home for All Jews: Citizenship, Rights, and National Identity in the New Israeli State by Orit Rozin

Excerpted from Brandeis University Press:

Orit Rozin’s inspired scholarship focuses on the construction and negotiation of citizenship in Israel during the state’s first decade. Positioning itself both within and against much of the critical sociological literature on the period, this work reveals the dire historical circumstances, the ideological and bureaucratic pressures, that limited the freedoms of Israeli citizens. At the same time it shows the capacity of the bureaucracy for flexibility and of the populace for protest against measures it found unjust and humiliating.

Rozin sets her work within a solid analytical framework, drawing on a variety of historical sources portraying the voices, thoughts, and feelings of Israelis, as well as theoretical literature on the nature of modern citizenship and the relation between citizenship and nationality. She takes on both negative and positive freedoms (freedom from and freedom to) in her analysis of three discrete yet overlapping issues: the right to childhood (and freedom from coerced marriage at a tender age); the right to travel abroad (freedom of movement being a pillar of a liberal society); and the right to speak out—not only to protest without fear of reprisal, but to speak in the expectation of being heeded and recognized.

This book will appeal to scholars and students of Israeli history, law, politics, and culture, and to scholars of nation building more generally.

Click here for a Table of Contents.

A Home for All Jews: Citizenship, Rights, and National Identity in the New Israeli State by Orit Rozin is published in the Brandeis Series on Gender, Culture, Religion, and the Law and the Schusterman Series in Israel Studies.