About Us

Boston Agunah Taskforce

The Boston Agunah Taskforce was founded with the support of grants from the Miriam Fund of Combined Jewish Philanthropies.  It is based at Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute of Brandeis University.

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Lisa Fishbayn Joffe

Lisa Fishbayn JoffeLisa Fishbayn Joffe is interim director of the Hadassah Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University and directs the Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law. The mission of the GCRL Project is to produce scholarship that explores the tension between women’s equality claims and religious laws.  Dr. Fishbayn Joffe‘s publications include Gender, Religion and Family Law: Theorizing Conflicts Between Women’s Rights and Cultural Traditions (with Sylvia Neil, Brandeis University Press, 2012); The Polygamy Question (with Janet Bennion, Colorado University Press, 2015); Women’s Rights and Religious Law (with Fareda Banda,  Routledge Press, 2016) and a special issue of Nashim on New Historical and Legal Perspectives on Jewish Divorce (with Haim Sperber, Volume 31,forthcoming 2017). She is editor, with Sylvia Neil, of the Brandeis University Press Series on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law.  She received her LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School and LL.M. and S.J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Rabbi Aryeh (Robert) Klapper

Rabbi Aryeh KlapperRabbi Aryeh (Robert) Klapper is the founder and dean of the Center for Modern Torah Leadership, a member of the Boston Beit Din, and experienced in areas of divorce and conversion.  He previously served as Orthodox Adviser and Associate Director for Education at Harvard Hillel, as Talmud Curriculum Chair at Maimonides High School, and as instructor of Rabbinic Literature and Bioethics at Gann Academy. He is founder of Midreshet Avigayl,  a high level Talmud program for teenage girls. Rabbi Klapper has published in Tradition, Meorot, Dinei Yisrael, Beit Yitzchak and other journals and has presented at numerous academic and community conferences. He is a popular lecturer who is consulted internationally on issues of Jewish law and whose work is cited regularly by both academic and traditional scholars. Rabbi Klapper attended the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) Kollel L'Horaah and was ordained March 1994. He received a M.A. in Bible from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and a B.A. in political science from Yeshiva College.

Layah Kranz Lipsker

Layah Kranz LipskerLayah Kranz Lipsker is a Jewish educator and mother of six, interested in the ways in which religion impacts the lives of women. Lipsker is the co-founder of Chabad of the North Shore and an instructor for the Jewish Learning Institute on Boston’s North Shore. Her journey as a Hassidic feminist led her to her current position as a Research Associate for the Hadassah Brandeis Institute.

Getyourget.com was the brainchild of her father, Rabbi Yankel Kranz, of blessed memory, a physical and spiritual giant, who once spoke to her of his desire to educate women about the getprocess. Lipsker remembers that long before the Internet, her father said that he wanted to create a “Bumper sticker campaign that he would call "GetYourGet.”

Rachel Putterman

Rachel PuttermanRachel is currently a rabbinical student at Hebrew College and a Jewish educator at Temple Hillel B'nai Torah in West Roxbury.  In her first career as a legal services attorney, Rachel represented domestic violence survivors in their family law cases.  Last summer, Rachelwas a Scholar in Residence at the HBI where she researched the Beit Din's witnessing of female conversion candidates' immersions in the mikveh.  Rachel is also a volunteer mikveh guide at Mayyim Hayyim.  

Debra Finkel

Debbie Finkel is a lawyer and entrepreneur living in Newton, Massachusetts.  Debbie has been active in Jewish communal organizations for over 20 years.  She served as the President of Women’s Division of the Jewish Federation of the North Shore (Massachusetts).  Debbie serves on the board and is a founding board member  of Eim Chai, whose mission is to empower Jewish women across all streams of observance with Jewish Torah values and wisdom to ignite their homes with greater spirituality.  Debbie has a particular interest in helping Ethiopian Jews transition to their new lives in Israel.  She spent time in Gondar helping to prepare emigrates for their new lives in Israel.  She worked to establish curricula designed to help young immigrant children find common ground with their new Israeli schoolmates.  Debbie is currently establishing a U.S. and Israel based initiative to train Ethiopian immigrants to provide direct care services to Israel’s elderly, infirm and disabled. Debbie and her husband Robert lived in Israel for two years with their children Max, Hannah and Aliyah.