The HBI scholar-in-residence program offers distinguished scholars, writers and communal professionals the opportunity to produce significant work in the area of Jewish studies and gender issues while being freed from their regular institutional responsibilities. HBI scholars-in-residence receive a monthly stipend (for up to 5 months), office space at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center, and the opportunity to network and exchange ideas with HBI staff and faculty at Brandeis and surrounding institutions. Scholars-in-residence contribute to the life of the HBI by immersing in the institute’s weekly activities, participating in HBI conferences and programs, and delivering a public lecture.
Fall 2013Tamar Biala
Tamar Biala is engaged with Jewish feminism as a writer and lecturer. She received her BA in Jewish studies and in literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and her MA in Women's Studies and Jewish Studies at the Schechter Institute. Her MA thesis, directed by professor Tamar Ross, was on "Feminist Theology's Critique of Divine Transcendence as a Means of Changing Conceptions of the 'Self.''' Ms. Biala has taught at IASA, Jerusalem's high school for gifted students, at the Hartman Institute's teacher training program, in pluralistic batei midrash in Israel and for the Israel Defence Forces. She also served for several years on the board of Kolech, the Religious Women's Forum, under whose auspices she developed high school curricula for the empowerment of young women in which she trained teachers, and curricula for sex and family education for both young men and young women. She is the co-editor of Dirshuni: Midrashei Nashim (Yediot Acharonot and the Jewish Agency for Israel, 2009), the first-ever collection of Midrashim written by contemporary Israeli women. While at the HBI, Ms. Biala will edit the second volume of Dirshuni, which contains dozens of new Midrashim, written by a wide and changing range of authors.
Dr. Yarden Fanta-Vagenshtein is a Research Associate at the HBI and a Senior Associate Fellow of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. She received her Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University in Science and Technology in Education, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research focuses on cross-cultural educational, social, and cultural issues faced by immigrants and refugees from underdeveloped and developing countries. She examines how these populations work within the confines of these issues to adapt to their host countries. She examines how transnationalism and gender differences affect images of self-esteem, academic, and socioeconomic achievement among immigrants. Fanta-Vagenshtein is conducting comparative studies on Upward Mobility and Glass Ceiling as Experienced by immigrant women in Israel and in the United States. She also serves as President of Empower Boston Immigrant Center (EBIC), Boston; committee member at JCRC (CJP) Shiluvim program; Event Chair and committee member of Tel Aviv University’s Alumni Leadership; and member of the World Computer Exchange in Boston.
Orian Zakai has completed her PhD at the department of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan in August 2012, and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies in 2012-2013. Her research and teaching interests include women and gender in Modern Hebrew literature, the interrelations between Hebrew literature and nationalism, intersections of gender, nationality and ethnicity in contemporary Israeli culture, and post-colonial and feminist theories. Dr. Zakai has published articles on Hebrew women’s writing in Nashim journal and in the anthology Creoles, Diasporas, Cosmopolitanisms. Her collection of short fiction Hashlem et he-haser (fill in the blanks) was published in Hebrew in 2010 by Keter Books.
As a scholar-in-residence at the Hadassah Brandeis Institute, Dr. Zakai will be working on her manuscript Zion of Their Own: Hebrew Women’s Ideological Prose, a critical exploration of Hebrew women’s prose from the pre-state period, tracing the ways in which women writers reclaimed the Zionist project by weaving it with women’s gendered traumas, with their projects of liberation and equality, and with their fraught relations with work, writing and love.
Carlotta Ferrara degli Uberti
Carlotta Ferrara degli Uberti received her PhD in Contemporary History at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa and at the University of Paris 1 in 2006. She studies the history of Italian Jews from the end of the nineteenth century to WWI from an institutional and cultural perspective. Among her other research interests are nineteenth century Italian racism and anti-Semitism; the contemporary history of European Jewry in a comparative perspective; nationalization and nationalism in nineteenth century Europe; the history of marriage and divorce in nineteenth and twentieth century Europe. Her publications include, La «Nazione ebrea» di Livorno dai privilegi all’emancipazione (1815-1860), [Le Monnier, 2007], and Fare gli ebrei italiani. Autorappresentazioni di una minoranza (1861-1914), [Il Mulino 2011]. While at the HBI Dr. Ferrara degli Uberti will work on her project, “Civil marriage, religion and dowries in Italy (1866-1915): Jewish women take center stage, in the contrast between Civil and Jewish Law.”
Dr. Brygida Gasztold is a Fulbright Scholar at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. She holds an MA degree and a doctorate degree from Gdańsk University, Poland, and a diploma of postgraduate studies in British Studies from Ruskin College, Oxford, UK and Warsaw University, Poland. She is assistant professor at the Technical University of Koszalin, Poland. Her academic and teaching interests include American literature, American Jewish literature, Canadian Jewish literature, as well as the problems of immigration, women and gender, and ethnic identities in modern American literature. She has published To the Limits of Experience: Jerzy Kosiński’s Literary Quest for Self-Identity (2008), Negotiating Home and Identity in Early 20th Century Jewish-American Narratives (2011) and essays on immigrant literature and ethnicity. As a scholar-in residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Dr. Gasztold will be working on her post-doctoral project about the representations of female characters in recent American Jewish narratives. Her research focuses on the gendered stereotypes, such as the Ghetto Mother, the Ghetto Girl, the Jewish Mother, the Jewish American Princess, as well as contemporary images of American Jewish women. She examines two aspects of their literary representations: religion/spirituality and the body.