Current Scholars


The HBI scholar-in-residence program offers distinguished scholars, writers and communal professionals the opportunity to produce significant work in the area of Jewish studies and gender issues while being freed from their regular institutional responsibilities. HBI scholars-in-residence receive a monthly stipend (for up to 5 months), office space at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center, and the opportunity to network and exchange ideas with HBI staff and faculty at Brandeis and surrounding institutions. Scholars-in-residence contribute to the life of the HBI by immersing in the institute’s weekly activities, participating in HBI conferences and programs, and delivering a public lecture.

Current Scholars-in-Residence

Jessica Carr, Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar-in-Residence

Jessica Carr is the Philip and Muriel Berman Scholar of Jewish Studies at Lafayette College, where she is an Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies Department. A scholar of American Judaism, visualJessica Carr culture, and Zionism and its representations, she completed her Ph.D. at Indiana University in 2013. She has also studied in Germany and Lithuania, and she conducted research in a variety of archives in Cincinnati, Chicago, and New York. She has presented on her current project, entitled The Zionization of America: Palestine In Jewish-American Visual Culture, 1901-1948, at both the American Academy of Religion and the Association for Jewish Studies. She is currently revising her manuscript for publication, and she is planning a future project on the representation of women in Jewish visual culture. Carr has taught at Lafayette College and Kenyon College, including courses in religion, Judaism, the Hebrew Bible, sex and gender, and Modern Judaism as well as seminars on visual culture and representations of Palestine/Israel in America. During her scholarship-in-residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, she will be completing research on the printed materials such as pamphlets, brochures, and booklets and public media of Hadassah during the first half of the twentieth century. Click here for her article, "Picturing Palestine: Visual Narrative in the Jewish Art Calendars of National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods."

Ofira Gruweis-Kovalsky, Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar-in-Residence

Dr. Ofira Gruweis-Kovalsky is a lecturer at Zefat Academic College and associate researcher at the Herzl Institute, University of Haifa. Dr. Gruweis Kovalsky is a historian of Israeli politics.  HerOfira Gruweis Kovalsky research focuses on the Israeli right wing, Jerusalem, symbols and myths. Dr. Gruweis Kovalsky's book The Vindicated and the Persecuted- The Mythology and the Symbols of the Herut Movement, 1948 -1965 was published in June 2015 by the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism. While at HBI  Dr. Ofira Gruweis-Kovalsky will work on her current research: 'Secular Conservative-Women in the Right-Wing Parties in the State of Israel during the 1950s and 1960s'. The particular goal of this study is to trace female activity in the State of Israel in the frameworks of center-right parties: the General Zionists, the Herut movement and in their associated organizations, the 1950s and 1960.

Yael Munk, Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar-in-ResidenceYael Munk

Yael Munk has been teaching at the Tel-Aviv University since 2001, first at the Gender Studies Department, and then at the Film and Television Department, where she teaches classes in Israeli and French Cinema.  Dr. Munk completed her Ph.D. at the Film and Television Department of the Tel-Aviv University in 2004. During these years, she joined the Open University of Israel as a Faculty member and been head of the department since 2013.  Dr. Munk manages developing film programs that are taught all over Israel and abroad.  Her field of research is defined as part of the Israel studies domain and is concerned mainly with Israeli cinema.

Rachel Putterman, Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar-in-Residence

Rachel Putterman is currently a rabbinical student at Hebrew College and a volunteer mikveh guide at Mayyim Hayyim.  Previously, she practiced public interest law, representing domesticRachel Putterman violence survivors in family law matters.  Rachel's research focuses on how gendered power dynamics play out in the Jewish ritual sphere.  At HBI, she will be researching the widespread practice of the all male Beit Din witnessing a woman immersing in the mikveh (ritual bath) as part of the Orthodox conversion process.