Meet the 2014 Interns

Every summer, HBI welcomes interns from across the country and world who complete original research related to the HBI mission of fresh thinking about Jews and gender worldwide and support the work of scholars affiliated with HBI and Brandeis.

During the eight-week program, the interns also attend educational lunch sessions with scholars, visit Jewish sights of interest in the Greater Boston area including Mayyim Hayyim, and a walking tour of Jewish Boston.

Meet the 2014 interns and their work.

Katherine Bleth

Katherine BlethKatherine Bleth, 21, is a rising senior from Atlanta, Ga. at University of Minnesota. She is a triple major in English, German and Jewish studies. Bleth credits her academic advisor at University of Minnesota with kindling her interesting Judaism when she followed his advice at took an introduction to Judaism class.

Her project at HBI is to study Jewish comedians and the body of work they produced over the last four years with specific attention to Obvious Child featuring Jenny Slate, Broad City featuring Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson as well as the work of Rachel Bloom.

Bleth is also working with Dr. Karen Frostig, scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University as well as President and Artistic Director of the Vienna Project, the first public art memorial of its kind in Europe to symbolically represent persecuted victims and dissidents of National Socialism.

Ranana Dine

Ranana DineRanana Dine, 20, a rising junior at Williams College from Silver Springs, Md., is pursuing a double major in religion and art history and practice. She previously attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville Md.

Dine’s project at HBI is a study of the BRCA1-2 mutation in Ashkenazi Jews and how it is being linked with Jewish religious symbols in cultural discourse.  The idea for the project first occurred to her when she saw a poster in a synagogue ladies’ room for BRCA gene screening that had the breast cancer ribbon filled with pink Jewish stars.

“It was an interesting symbol that played into all my interests. My dream is to somehow figure out ways to combine religion, medicine and art,” she said.

As she paid more attention, she noticed more symbols. Her work will focus on the halakhic discourse about gene screening and recent conversation about Jewish genetics and whether Jews are a genetic group. Dine is also supporting the research of Rabbi Jane Kanarek, Associate Professor of Rabbinics at Hebrew College, with her work for the Feminist Commentary for the Babylonian Talmud project.

Fabulous Flores

Fabulous FloresFabulous Flores, 22, from LaVerne, Calif., is a rising senior at Penn State University, majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in Jewish studies.  At HBI, Flores is working on a research project that examines the stigma of multiculturalism in the Jewish community from several historical points of view.  Her interest in this topic stems from her own experiences as a Jew with multicultural roots.

At the same time, Flores is supporting the work of Layah Lipsker, an HBI research associate, on the launch of the, a new web site that provides resources, support and education for Jewish women struggling with various aspects of Jewish divorce.

Helena Goodman

Helena GoodmanHelena Goodman, 19, from Riverdale, N.Y. a rising sophomore at McGill University is a double major in English literature and Jewish studies.  She attended Jewish day school for many years, but graduated from Riverdale-Kingsbridge Academy.

Goodman shares a love of literature with her mother who holds a Ph.D in Yiddish of the first World War. At first, she rebelled, but ultimately took a class on the Yiddish literary canon.

At HBI, Goodman’s independent project is a paper studying the short stories of Jewish female writers, mainly focused on Cynthia Ozick, Grace Paley and Renata Adler., looking at the short story format a “minority” format in literature written by a group identified as a double-minority.She is also working at the National Center for Jewish Film under the director of Sharon and Lisa Rivo, doing archival work.

Rachel Putterman

Rachel PuttermanRachel Putterman, 48, had a varied career before coming to HBI as a graduate intern. After receiving her degree in political science from UC San Diego and her law degree from American University, she worked as a legal services attorney representing domestic violence survivors in their family law cases.

Recently, Putterman went back to school at Hebrew College, this time pursuing a lifelong dream to become a rabbi.  She also recently trained to become a mikveh guide at Mayyim Hayyim. Her research project at HBI combines many of her interests as she conducts a gendered analysis of the ritual impurity of abnormal genital discharges in Leviticus.

She is also working with Dr. Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, director of the HBI Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and Law, to research portrayals of agunot in Jewish and secular media, including social media.  Additionally, she is researching whether the public shaming of get refusers constitutes libel or defamation.

Tamar Segev

Tamar SegevTamar Segev, 20, is a rising junior from Needham, Mass. at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. She is majoring in studio art with a focus in art history and psychology.

At HBI, she is researching artistic representations of Biblical women, focusing mostly on Miriam while also creating her own paintings and representations of Miriam. At the same time, Segev is working Dr. Karen Frostig, scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University and President and Artistic Director of the Vienna Project, the first public art memorial of its kind in Europe to symbolically represent persecuted victims and dissidents of National Socialism.

Segev is soliciting archival letters and contacting groups all over the world so people will post letters on the project’s web site. She was drawn to this project because it provided an opportunity to do an art project with a research component.

Amanda Sharick

Amanda SharickAmanda Sharick, 28, a graduate intern at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, is a doctoral candidate in the English Department at the University of California, Riverside. She specializes in late-Victorian culture and literature, Jewish Studies, gender and sexuality and media studies. Her dissertation traces the transatlantic networks of Anglo and American Jewish women writers during the turn of the twentieth century.

Sharick selected HBI because it is an “elite institution that looks at the important intersections between Jews and gender.” Her individual project is revising a chapter in her dissertation that examines the transatlantic professional relationship between Henrietta Szold and Lady Katie Magnus during a 15-year period when Szold was a volunteer editor for the Jewish Publication Society of America (JPSA).

Sharick is also supporting the work of Dr. Joyce Antler, the Samuel B. Lane Professor of American Jewish History and Culture and Women's and Gender Studies in her forthcoming book, Radical Feminism and Jewish Identity, working on her last chapter, reading and taking notes on a specific British case study of radical feminism and anti-Semitism during the 1982-83 Israeli invasion of Southern Lebanon.