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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.

Donate to HBI

Upcoming Deadlines

2018 Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar in Residence Program
Application deadline:
January 25, 2018

Upcoming Events

Graphic Content: The Sacred Art and Beautiful Math of Rachel Braun

Thursday, Jan. 18
Liberman-Miller Lecture Hall, Epstein Bldg.
515 South St., Waltham

What happens when you combine a passion for embroidery, Jewish text, math and graph paper?

Podcast Recording: “The Joy of Text”

Sunday, Jan. 21, 5 p.m.
Mandel Center, Room G03
Brandeis University

A live recording of JOFA’s podcast, “The Joy of Text,” on choosing not to have children and on single-parenting by choice. Co-sponsored by HBI, BOO, JFAB, and Brandeis Hillel.

Rabbis and Artists South of the Border: Resisting Authoritarianism

Monday, January 22, 6:30 p.m.
Temple Israel of Boston
477 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA

Dr. Dalia Wassner and Rabbi Claudia Kreiman will explore how Jewish women in Argentina and Chile wove memories of the Holocaust into contemporary cultural representations of the dictatorship, as they spoke truth to national policies of violence and silence.

South American Women "Making Trouble": Feminist Plights Against Totalitarian Regimes

Sat Jan 27th 12:45pm, following services
Temple Beth Zion
Brookline, MA

A Lunch and Learn with Dr. Dalia Wassner, Research Associate and Director of HBI's Project on Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies.

Havdalah & Movie Night: Los Abandonados

Saturday, January 27
Light dinner at 5:15 p.m.
Film screening 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Temple Emanuel
385 Ward. St., Newton, MA

A film screening introduced by Dalia Wassner, and Q&A with Dalia Wassner and Hazzan Elias Rosemberg. Co-sponsored by the HBI Latin American Jewish and Gender Studies Project.

Author Talk: Birthrate Politics in Zion: Judaism, Nationalism and Modernity under the British Mandate with Lilach Rosenberg

Tuesday January 30, 12 - 1 p.m.
Mandel Center for the Humanities Reading Room, 3rd Floor
Brandeis University

Rosenberg discusses her new book, Birthrate Politics in Zion: Judaism, Nationalism and Modernity under the British Mandate.

Free kosher lunch provided. RSVP by Thursday, Jan. 18 to jvanwag@brandeis.edu.

JOFA Webinar: What Do Modern Orthodox Jews Really Think?

HBI Co-Director Professor Sylvia Barack Fishman will introduce and moderate a discussion with researcher Dr. Mark Trencher, author of the new NISHMAH (2017) Profile of American Modern Orthodox Jews.

Wednesday, January 31, 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Livestream through Facebook

Genesis Forum: “I Will Betroth You to Me in Righteousness and Justice: Jewish Perspectives on Marriage and Divorce” with Lisa Fishbayn Joffe

Wednesday, February 14, 12 – 1:15 p.m.
CJP, Kraft Family Building
126 High Street, Boston

HBI Director Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, S.J.D., presents on “I Will Betroth You to Me in Righteousness and Justice: Jewish Perspectives on Marriage and Divorce.”

For more information or to RSVP, visit the CJP website.

GCRL Lunchtime Seminars

The lectures meet on Mondays from noon to 1:30pm in the Liberman-Miller Lecture Hall at HBI. A kosher lunch will be provided. Click here for schedule.

Latest Publications


Rachel BraunHBI Blog: Fresh Ideas
Zionism and Feminism 101
Gender and Justice bookcoverGender and Justice in Family Law Disputes
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

Ornit RozinA Home for All Jews

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

Four Men and a Woman ebookFour Men and a Woman

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.

Liwerant Wins 2017 Marshall Sklare Award

Judit LiwerantDr. Judit Bokser Liwerant, professor of political science at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and member of the HBI Board of Advisors, makes history as the first Latin American scholar to receive the Marshall Sklare Award. She accepted this award at the Association of Jewish Studies conference in Washington D.C., December 17–19. The honor is given annually by the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry to a senior scholar who has made a significant contribution to the field. Liwerant’s work has been broadly recognized as groundbreaking in its interdisciplinary scope, approaching the study of Latin American Jewry as much in terms of local social, cultural, and political definitions as in terms of transnational systems of identity, including Diaspora-Israel relations.

Meet the Students of HBI

Violet Fearon, HBI student bloggerThis year, HBI is thrilled to have a number of students working in various positions to help the Institute’s core mission of promoting research on the intersection between Jews and gender. The HBI students will be researching Jewish communities in Latin America, examining religious divorce in Boston, and blogging. Find out more about them on our blog.

Conversations with Extraordinary Women

Marcia Falk

Marcia Falk, author of The Book of Blessings: New Jewish Prayers for Daily Life, The Sabbath, and the New Moom Festival (CCAR) and The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season (HBI Series on Jewish Women) speaks to HBI Director Lisa Fishbayn Joffe.

Tune in to hear the conversation. 

Co-sponsored with The Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program

Lisa Fishbayn Joffe Named Director of HBI

Lisa Fishbyn JoffeBrandeis University has appointed Lisa Fishbayn Joffe to serve as Shulamit Reinharz Director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (HBI), effective January 1, 2018. Joffe began work in the role with an interim appointment on July 1, 2017 upon the retirement of HBI founding director Shulamit Reinharz.

Formerly, Joffe was HBI’s associate director, and director of HBI’s Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law and of the Boston Agunah Task Force. In addition to serving as director of HBI, Joffe will teach “Gender, Multiculturalism and The Law,” cross-listed in the Philosophy and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies departments. Professor Sylvia Barack Fishman will continue to serve as Co-Director of HBI.

An article in Brandeis Now celebrated Joffe's appointment.

Watch our Facebook Live video of Spiritual Sisters: A Poetry Reading by Lesléa Newman and Joy Ladin

Joy Ladin and Leslea Newman

Watch our Facebook Live Video of the German-Jewish Cookbook launch event!

German-Jewish Cookbook

Click here to purchase a book.

HBI Welcomes Fall Helen Gartner Hammer Scholars

Rivka Tuval-Mashiach

Rivka Tuval-Mashiach, Ph.D, is a clinical psychologist and an associate professor of psychology at Bar-Ilan University. Until recently, Rivka Tuval-Mashiachshe served as director of the graduate clinical program and on the steering committee in charge of conferences and special activities. For the last 15 years, she held a joint appointment in the Graduate Program for Gender Studies where she still teaches courses on the women's psychology and mental health, and women’s development along the life cycle. Tuval-Mashiach is also the academic head of the Community Services Unit of NATAL, the Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War. Her research fields include coping with trauma and stress, identity challenges and identity re-construction in coping with trauma and illness, emerging adulthood, narratives of gender, and the development of narrative theory and qualitative methodologies. Her clinical work focuses on individual and collective responses to trauma, mainly using narrative approaches to study identity reconstruction processes in the aftermath of traumatic events. More recently, she is focusing on trauma narratives, at both the individual and collective levels, as the main therapeutic tool in her work. Tuval-Mashiach published two books and many peer reviewed papers on these topics including Narrative Research: Reading, Analysis and Interpretation (Sage, 1998, with Professor Amia Lieblich and Dr.Tammar Zilber) and Narrative Research: Theory, Interpretation and Creation, in Hebrew, with Dr. Gabriella Spector-Mersel. Her current research project deals with parents of soldiers, and their experieces and attitudes towards their son’s enlistment to combat service.

Galina Zelenina

Galina ZeleninaGalina Zelenina is an associate professor at the Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies at Russian State University of Humanities in Moscow. She has taught courses on medieval, East European and Soviet Jewish history, Judaeo-Christian polemics, Jewish women’s history, gender studies and diasporal studies. Her fields of research have included late medieval Sephardi Jews and Conversos, late Soviet and post-Soviet Jewry, Judaism in contemporary Russia, intersection of Jewish and queer identities and topoi in Soviet and post-Soviet culture. She is the author of From Scepter of Judah to Buffon’s Club: Court Jews in Medieval Spain (in Russian; 2008) and has a new book on Conversos and Spanish inquisition in print. Her recent publications include the book Wissenschaft des Judentums Two: Renaissance in Portraits (in Russian; 2015) on the revival of Jewish studies in late Soviet and post-Soviet Russia and the edited volume Judaism after the USSR: Old and New, Religious and National, as well as several articles on post-war Soviet Jewish cultural history and Judaism in contemporary Russia. Her current research project deals with baalot teshuva in the Moscow Chabad community, their identity, piety, and social practice.


Miriam Offer

Miriam OfferMiriam Offer is a senior lecturer at Western Galilee Academic College, Akko, Israel. And an expert researcher on Jewish medical activity during the Holocaust. Her book, White Coats Inside the Ghetto: Jewish Medicine in Poland During the Holocaust, was published in Hebrew in April 2015 by Yad Vashem, and the English edition is currently in process. While researching the history of medicine and physicians in the Shavli Ghetto in Lithuania, Miriam exposed previously undiscovered valuable diaries and archival documents. She is currently conducting a series of studies on Jewish medical activity immediately prior to, during, and after the Holocaust. Offer is a partner in research and educational initiatives on the history of medicine during the Holocaust. Inter alia, she is a member of the organizational scientific committee of the Nahariya Conferences on Medicine and the Holocaust, initiated by Prof. Shaul Shasha, and is a scientific committee member and guide for “Witnesses in White”—organized trips to Poland for physicians—under the auspices of the Israel Medical Association. Offer was one of the founders of the Hedva Eibschitz Institute for Holocaust Studies in Haifa, where she served as Director from 1988 to 1993. As scholar-in-residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University, Offer is currently devoting her time to researching Jewish women on the frontline of the medical services in the ghettos during the Holocaust.

Tribute Video for Shula Reinharz's Retirement

On June 30, 2017, Shula Reinharz, HBI founding director, will retire. Watch her tribute video. 

Donors Support the Fund for the Future of the HBI Campaign

The HBI gratefully acknowledges and thanks the following leadership donors for their support of the Fund for the Future of the HBI Campaign. Their generosity gives HBI the resources to sustain success and grow in new ways.

Phyllis Hammer
Sylvia Neil
Laura Schor
Debs Weinberg

$75,000 - $99,999
Elaine Reuben

$25,000 - $74,999
Rita and Irwin Blitt
Leslie and Michael Gaffin
Shulamit and Jehuda Reinharz
Annie Sandler

$10,000 - $24,999
Suzanne Priebatsch
Diane Troderman
Arnee R. and  Walter A. Winshall
Jane Zolot

$1,000 - $9,999
Talia Carner
Tony Hananel
Liliane Targownik

*as of 6/23/17

View complete donor list.

HBI Hosted Helène Aylon​ Exhibit  

The HBI hosted Helène Aylon during the 2017 spring semester.  This groundbreaking, Jewish, feminist artist has created an installation in the Kniznick Gallery of the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University as part of the year-long celebration of HBI's founding director, Shulamit Reinharz, who will retire at the end of June 2017.

Afterword: For the Children
Access online catalogue.

Helene Aylon

Internationally-acclaimed Jewish feminist artist Helène Aylon presented her conclusion to The G-d Project: Nine Houses Without Women, her 20-year series highlighting the dismissal of women in Jewish traditions and text. In Afterword: For the Children, Aylon dedicated her finale in the series to the future generations, challenging all who regard The Ten Commandments not to shrug off a dark foreboding which emanates in her view, from the patriarchy - not from God.  

The text of the Second Commandment holds future generations responsible for the sins of their fathers. The artist’s examination of this text revealed a universal dilemma through its connection to contemporary policies and practices that shape the world our children will inherit. The concept of “Tikkun Olam” (correction of the world) holds significance in Aylon’s immersive digital installation, as her continuous attempt at “repairing” the revered text becomes​ a​ quiet yet assertive protest.

Aylon's exhibition "Afterword: For the Children" will travel to the Jerusalem Biennale 2017, opening on October 1, 2017.

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


On February 2, 2017, HBI partnered with ORA and J-FAB in a panel that discussed the plight of agunot and the halachic prenup. Panelists included Rabbi Jeremy Stern Director of ORA, Rabbi Aryeh Klapper of the Boston Beit Din and Boston Agunah Taskforce,  Elizabeth Schön Vainer the Outreach and Program Director from Journey to Safety, at Boston's Jewish Family and Children's Service, and Rachel Light, a former agunah. The event was moderated by HBI's Lisa Fishbayn Joffe

Watch event in its entirety. Note: The stream will pause during Rachel Light's commentary, which we were not permitted to record, but will resume. 

Deis Impact logo

polygamy title page

In case you missed the event on January 30, 2017, you can watch it in its entirety below:

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 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 $70,000 in Research Awards

With titles ranging from “The Rise of Orthodox Jewish Women Comic Artists in Israel” from Noa Lea Cohn of Bar Ilan University and “The Reception of the Diary of Anne Frank: What the Japanese Search for and See in Anne,” from Mina Muraoka of the National Defense Academy of Japan, HBI recently distributed $70,000 for 25 Research Awards. Together, these awards highlight many of the values dear to HBI: supporting a range of projects true to the HBI mission, continuing support for established scholars in the field of Jews and gender and nurturing the careers of junior scholars.

To choose the annual research awards, HBI works with its Academic Advisory Committee, comprised of 160 experts and academics from 52 schools in eight countries, to read the proposals and comment over a review period. The process culminates with a day-long meeting at HBI in December to discuss the best proposals. 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, Dr. Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, associate director of HBI and director of the HBI Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law, and HBI academic programs manager, Deborah Olins. The research awards divide into sub-categories that 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.

The 2016 AAC meeting also provided an opportunity to celebrate HBI’s 20th anniversary and to honor Professor Shulamit Reinharz, HBI’s founding director, who retired in June, 2017.

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

The Polygamy Questionedited by Janet Bennion and Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, reviewed by Feminist Legal Studies and Reading Religion: A Publication of American Academy of Religion

Contemporary Jewry reviews Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution, edited by HBI's co-director, Sylvia Barack Fishman.

HBI director, Shulamit Reinharz, WSRC Scholar Jutta Lindert, et. al, publish paper on Psychopathology of Children of Genocide Survivors: A Systematic Review on the Impact of Genocide on Their Children‘s Psychopathology from Five Countries.

The JOFA Journal reviews Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution, edited by HBI co-director, Sylvia Barack Fishman.

Former SIR, Lori Harrison-Kahan, wins Western Literature Association's Don D. Walker Prize for research done at HBI on her paper, Miriam Michelson’s Yellow Journalism and the Multi-Ethnic West. 

Congratulations to Julia Creet, former HBI scholar-in-residence and AAC member; Sara R. Horowitz, AAC member, and Amira Bojadzija-Dan, for winning the Canadian Jewish Book award in the category of Jewish Thought and Culture for H.G. Adler: Life, Literature, Legacy (Northwestern University Press).

HBI Board member, Talia Carner, discusses her Jewish identity in The Times of Israel.

Orit Rozin’s new book, A Home for All Jews: Citizenship, Rights, and National Identity in the New Israeli State, in the Brandeis Series on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law, gets a rave review in The New Rambler.

Rivka Neriya-Ben Shahar, former HBI scholar-in-residence, writes about how women in two devout communities cope with the Internet, in Negotiating agency: Amish and ultra-Orthodox women’s responses to the Internet in the journal, New Media and Society.

Great review in Mooney on the Theatre on the work of former HBI Scholar-in-residence,  Katka Reszke, a Polish filmmaker for "We Keep Coming Back.”

HBI Intern, Nora Smolonsky, writes in Mayyim Hayyim’s blog, A Visit to Mayyim Hayyim: A Nondenominational Mikveh

HBI Board member Talia Carner speaks on her new book, Hotel Moscow

Janet H. Burstein publsihed  Israeli Mothers in Film:“Re-visioning” Culture, Engendering Autonomy in Project Muse. 

Rave review in Jewish Boston for The Pearl the Slipped it's Shell by Wendy Wolfe Fine, HBI 2016 artist-in-residence.

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 former scholar-in-residence Kathryn Hellerstein in The Daily Pennsylvanian on influential women in the Yiddish tradition.