Current Scholars


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.

Current Scholars-in-Residence

Haim SperberDr. Haim Sperber, GCRL/Sylvia Neil and Dan Fischel Scholar-in-Residence
Dr. Haim Sperber is a senior lecturer at the Western Galilee College in Israel where he chairs the Interdisciplinary Studies department. Dr. Sperber is a historian who has investigated various topics including: 19th century Jewish deserted women (agunot), 19th century English chief rabbinate, 19th century Anglo-Jewish philanthropy and Anglo-Jewish leadership. Dr. Sperber is also a member of the Haifa University forum of researchers of immigration. At HBI, he will continue his research on agunot in Jewish society from 1897 to 1914.

Rabbi Aryeh KlapperRabbi Aryeh Klapper, Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar-in-Residence
Rabbi Aryeh Klapper is dean of the Center for Modern Torah Leadership and a member of the Boston Beit Din. He previously served as Orthodox rabbinic adviser and associate director for education at Harvard Hillel, Talmud curriculum chair at Maimonides High School and instructor of rabbinics and bio-ethics at Gann Academy. Rabbi Klapper lectures and publishes widely in both popular and academic settings, and consults internationally on issues of Jewish law. Much of his Torah commentary and writings can be found online at At HBI, he will be researching and drafting papers that accomplish the full development and presentation of R. David Bigman's and Dr. Berachyahu Lifshitz's suggested creative methods of preventing husbands from using Jewish divorce law for the purposes of financial blackmail or simple cruelty. He will also work to build support within the community of rabbinic judges so the ideas receive a fair hearing.

Susan WeissSusan Weiss, Estanne Fawer Scholar-in-Residence
Dr. Susan Weiss is the founder and executive director of the Center for Women's Justice (CWJ). Weiss has been actively working to find solutions for divorce issues confronting Jewish women, first as a private attorney, then as the founder and director of Yad L'Isha from 1997-2004, and now as the founder and executive director of CWJ. Weiss is the co-author, with Netty C. Gross-Horowitz of Marriage and Divorce in the Jewish State: Israel's Civil War. During her stay at HBI, she will research why Israel cannot extract itself from its original blunder, repeal the millet system, and write a Constitution that sets its priorities straight as courageous leaders have done in South Africa, India, and Turkey.

Gelinada GrinchenkoGelinada Grinchenko, HBI-BGI Scholar-in-Residence
Professor Gelinada Grinchenko is professor of history at the Ukrainian studies department at V. N. Karazin National University, Kharkiv, Ukraine. Since 2006, Grinchenko has been head of the Ukrainian Oral History Association. Her main areas of research are oral history, women’s history, the history and memory of World War II, war and post-war politics of memory and border studies. Her authored book is An Oral History of Forcing to Labour: Method, Contexts, Texts (Kharkiv, 2012).

Past Scholars-in-Residence