Meet the 2015 Gilda Slifka 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 2015 interns and their work.
Morgan Flanagan-Folcarelli, 20, is a rising junior at Mount Holyoke College and a double major in English and Philosophy. She is most recently from Wethersfield, Conn., but grew up in both Vermont and the San Francisco Bay Area.
At HBI, Flanagan-Folcarelli is interviewing bisexual Jews in the US and around the world to complete a paper that examines the intersections of bisexual and Jewish identities, as well as the experiences of those who claim them. She is interested in the politics and social implications of identity labels, particularly in regard to oppression and LGBTQ+ identification, and is grateful for the opportunity that HBI provides to highlight the experiences of those she is interviewing.
Flanagan-Folcarelli is also working with Dr. Lisa Fishbayne Joffe, and has assisted with the finalization of a manuscript on Gender, Religion and Public Life. She looks forward to doing further work with Dr. Fishbayne Joffe, as the summer continues.
Fox, 26, is a fourth year undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz studying critical race and ethnic studies with a focus in Jewishness.
At HBI, they are compiling a zine on LGBTQIA+ reclamation of the mikveh. In addition to serving as a community space to share rituals/stories/reflections/philosophical readings/art/etc., their hope is that the zine might also serve as an iterative resource guide to pluralistic mikvaot/naturally occurring mikvaot for LGBTQIA+ folks.
Fox is also working with Dr. Janet Freedman, a scholar at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center, to shape a project to "find the words that say it": deeper dialogues and conflicting discussions around paths to social justice. Fox identifies as a trans/gender non-conforming white Ashkenazi Jew. They enjoy playing viola, taking walks, journaling and cultivating community.
Daniela Kogan, 20, of Queens, N.Y. is a rising junior at the joint program of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University majoring in Psychology and Bible.
Her summer project at HBI is a modern reading of Biblical women where she ties the themes and issues of their stories to those faced by contemporary women. Some examples include the glass ceiling, discrimination in the workplace, reproductive issues, women's health, campus rape and body image in the Jewish community and media. She is also working with Associate Professor Raj Sampath, associate director of the Heller School master’s program in sustainable international development. Kogan is helping Prof. Sampath with a feminist reinterpretation of Adam and Eve.
At school, Kogan is deeply involved in campus Hillel, where she will be leading a seminar on Jewish education and will be the co-chair of Conservative movement group on campus. She teaches middle schooler children in the religious school of Congregation Habonim. In her spare time, she likes to bake and explore New York City.
Devorah Kranz, 18, Richmond, Virginia, is a rising sophomore at Brandeis University majoring in philosophy and neuroscience.
At HBI, she is looking at feminist interpretations of Hannah Arendt and considering how her philosophical and political thought can be used to inform the way we look at modern Jewish feminism.
She is also supporting the work of Layah Lipsker, research associate and member of the Boston Agunah Task Force to create a website and produce an educational video so that family lawyers and people going through a divorce can learn about how civil courts can help in the event that a prenuptial agreement hasn’t been signed.
Caro Langenbucher, 21, from Highland Park, N.J. is a rising senior at Brandeis University, majoring in English with a minor in Sexuality and Queer Studies. Langenbucher’s preferred pronouns are they and them.
They are interested in the oeuvre of David Foster Wallace and are working on a senior thesis that will be a feminist analysis of his novel, Infinite Jest.
At HBI, this summer, they are working for the National Center for Jewish Film on Yiddish filmography. Their independent research is on non-binary (beyond male/female) gender identities in the Talmud. In the form of a self-published “zine,” they want to explore reclaiming these ancient genders as a genderqueer Jew in the present day.
Hannah Montañez, 21, is a rising fourth year student at the University of Virginia from Manassas, Virginia. She is a double major in foreign affairs and Jewish studies. Montañez has a particular interest in the study of Sephardic Jews, specifically those in Latin America and the Caribbean.
At HBI, Montañez is researching Hispanic Jewish sexual ethics. Specifically, she is studying the way Hispanic Jewish women may experience difficulty in accepting aspects of sexuality and abortion in Jewish law due to potential conflicts with the machista and Christian influences that are usually vital foundational aspects in Latino culture.
Montañez is also working with Dr. Dalia Wassner, an HBI research associate, to research prominent literary figures in Latin America and Spain who attempted to incorporate Jews in the bigger conversation of national identity, from the colonial period through the 20th century.
Madilyn Pflueger, 20, of Austin, T.X. is a rising junior at Trinity University in San Antonio majoring in Spanish and minoring in psychology.
At HBI, Pflueger is producing a visual art series portraying the matriarchs in contemporary society, looking away from the patriarchal interpretations of negative characteristics.
Pflueger is also working with Amy Powell, HBI communications director, on social media and new communications platforms.
Alec Scarf, 25, is a graduate intern from Los Angeles and currently lives in Cambridge. Her undergraduate degree is in Classical Studies from UCSC where she graduated with honors. There she studied middle Egyptian literature and Hellenistic Judaism, completing her thesis on Hegel’s notion on world history. She is currently a master’s candidate in the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Department at Brandeis and works comparatively within Bible and modern biblical reception.
At HBI, Scarf and Prof. Sylvia Barack Fishman are compiling sources and conducting research in contemporary female Jewish authors in North America. Scarf’s personal research at HBI seeks to understand the use of transgression and violence as a narrative technique in works of Israeli fiction.