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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.

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Helen Hammer Translation Prize
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rosalie Katchen Travel Grant
Thursday, November 17, 2016

Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar in Residence Program
Thursday, January 26, 2017

Latest Publications

Jen Friedman blogHBI Blog: Fresh Ideas

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

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


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.

“Votes for Women”: The History of Equal Suffrage in Israel and America

Sunday, October 30, 2016 at 7:00pm
Rapaporte Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library
Brandeis University

Professor Margalit Shilo of Bar Ilan University will read an excerpt from “Girls of Liberty:  The Struggle for Suffrage in Mandatory Palestine,” a masterful chronicle of the work of the Union of Hebrew Women for Equal Rights and their success in securing women’s suffrage in the British Mandate between 1917 and 1936. HBI supported this book with research and translation awards and published it in both the Brandeis Series on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law and the HBI Series on Jewish Women.

Discussants will be Professor Melissa Klapper and Attorney Riki Shapira-Rosenberg -- Klapper, author of Babies, Ballots and Banners of Peace: Jewish Women’s Activism 1890 -1940, funded in part with an HBI Research Award, will discuss the role of Jewish women in the suffrage movement in the United States.

Riki Shapira-Rosenberg, HBI Helen Gartner Hammer scholar-in-residence, is a lawyer who acts on behalf of ultra-Orthodox women in Israel in their struggle to have a voice in the contemporary electoral process.

HBI Associate Director Dr. Lisa Fishbayn Joffe will moderate.

Helène Aylon​ Coming to HBI in Spring 2017

The HBI is pleased to announce that we will host Helène Aylon during the 2017 Spring semester.  This ground breaking, Jewish, feminist artist will create an installation in the Kniznick Gallery of the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University as part of the year of celebration of the HBI's founding director, Shulamit Reinharz, who will retire at the end of June.

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

HBI Welcomes Helen Gartner Hammer Scholars

aviAvishalom Westreich is a Senior Lecturer at the College of Law and Business, Ramat Gan, and a Research Fellow in the Kogod Research Center for Contemporary Jewish Thought at the Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem. 


GeraldineGeraldine Gudefin, a Ph.D student in History at Brandeis University,  is writing a dissertation entitled "Navigating the Civil and Religious Worlds: Jewish Immigrants & Marital Laws in France and the United States,1881-1939."


IrshaiRonit Irshai is a lecturer in the gender studies program at Bar Ilan University and a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. She has been a visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School during the academic year of 2007-2008.



Riki Shapira-Rosenberg is an attorney and Israeli feminist Orthodox activist. She holds a L.L.B from Bar-Ilan University, an L.L.M from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as a B.A. in Jewish History and Education from the Hebrew University. 

 Learn more about the scholars from their complete bios.

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 Bids Farewell to Summer Interns and Academic Adviser, Rachel Bernstein

Intern picture

After a day of presentations on their individual research projects, HBI bids farewell to both the 2016 Gilda Slifka interns and their Academic Adviser, Rachel Bernstein. After eight years, Bernstein shares her experience and memories in Thanks for All the Summers: A Love Letter to HBI, available on our blog.

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