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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.


Reflections on the Boston Pride Events

By Nora Smolonsky, Gilda Slifka intern

Farrell at Pride
Pictured: Gilda Slifka intern, Farrell Brenner

In the aftermath of the senseless, hate-fueled murders at Pulse nightclub in Orlando two weeks ago, some of the Gilda Slifka HBI summer interns discussed the New England Pride events they attended this month. Rachel Gabrilowitz, who went to events for Providence Pride, felt ambivalence toward the strong police presence there. Some people were calling for fewer police officers, while others believed they contributed to a greater feeling of safety, she said. This issue, however, is a microcosm of a larger conversation about whether the police increase general safety or not. The consensus among the interns is that whether someone feels protected by the police is largely dependent on their socioeconomic status and race.

The discussion of safety led to musings on the corporatization of Pride. Ruth Fertig, Farrell Brenner, and I discussed the differences between the two Boston Pride events we attended. The day before the main parade, we went to the Boston Dyke March, the only Boston Pride event without any corporate sponsorship. Fertig said, “It was really good to be in a space with specifically queer women.” Brenner agreed. “The Dyke March was intended to be an accessible space for all kinds of people. It intentionally intersected queer struggles with immigration rights, racism, and misogyny.”

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Troderman Receives Hebrew College Honorary Degree

Diane Troderman

HBI congratulates our founding board chairwoman, Diane Troderman, on her honorary doctorate from Hebrew College, June 5. Troderman is the former chair of Jewish Education Service of North America and has held numerous leadership roles in the Jewish community on local, national, and international levels. In addition to her passionate interest in Jewish education, she has worked actively on women’s' issues and in the renaissance and renewal of Jewish life throughout the world. Continuing to play a key role on the HBI board, Troderman also serves on the boards of the American Jewish World Service, Hebrew At The Center; Hazon and The Davidson School of Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Troderman was joined by commencement speaker, Jane Eisner, Editor-in-Chief of The Forward,  Rabbi David Ellenson, director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University, and chancellor emeritus of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion and Joshua R. Jacobson, professor of music and director of choral activities at Northeastern University and founder and director of the Zamir Chorale of Boston.

Photo credit: Hebrew College


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 $75,000 in Research Awards

Titles like “Wild, Outside, in the Night: Maurice Sendak, Queer American Jewishness, and the Child” and “Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh: All Rise for Women on a Beit Din” are just two of the 25 research awards the HBI will support over the following year.

These projects, of Golan Moskowitz and Helene Aylon respectively, and the others received a total of $75,000 after the annual Academic Advisory Committee meeting in December, 2015. The AAC, comprised of 160 experts and academics from 52 schools in eight countries, review the appropriate proposals and comment over a review period. The process culminates with a day-long meeting at HBI, this year attended by 30 members, to discuss the finalists. 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 and Dr. Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, associate director of HBI and director of the Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law. 

The research awards support the HBI mission of developing fresh ways of thinking about Jews and gender worldwide. Sub-categories 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. 


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

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 Scholar-in-Residence Kathryn Hellerstein in The Daily Pennsylvanian on influential women in the Yiddish tradition. 

HBI’s co-director Sylvia Barack Fishman mentioned in The Jewish Week, Seeing Crisis, Jewish Ethics Group Urges Reform.

Shulamit Reinharz, HBI Founding director, on More Young Women Moving Back Home in the Boston Globe.

Former scholar-in-residence Nina Lichtenstein in Lilith, The Making of a Viking Jewess.

Janet Freedman, scholar at the Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center and a member of the HBI's Academic Advisory Council, started a national conversation on the NWSA's acceptance of a BDS resolution. Dr. Freedman's blogs in Fresh IdeasA Statement in Opposition to the NWSA Resolution on BDS  and For the Womens Studies Association the BDS Vote Was Over Before it Began prompted other references and blogs in The Forward's Sisterhood, the Forward's  Dont Be Surprised When Activists Connect Israel to Campus Rape, Inside Higher Ed's  Another Association Backs Israel Boycott and the Daily Beast's Do Feminists Have to Hate Israel?

Research award recipients, Julia Phillips Cohen and Sarah Abrevaya Stein discuss their award-winning book, Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History. 

Cynthia Shamash, author of The Strangers We Became: Lessons in Exile from One of Iraq's Last Jews in the HBI Series on Jewish Women is interviewed by Vox Tablet, Girlhood Interrupted.

Katka Reszke, Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar-in-Residence served as chief screenwriter for Karski & The Lords of Humanity

Elana Maryles Sztokman, award-winning HBI author, explains which Jewish feminists she would invite to dinner in The Prosen People

Susan Weiss, HBI author and former scholar-in-residence on in the Forward on why Israel's Voiding of Conversions Should Worry Us All

Rabbi Lila Kagedan, research association in the HBI Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law on taking the title, rabbi.

The JWA's Rising Voices blog profiles HBI Research Award recipient, Helène Aylon, in Artists For a Cause