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.

Tamar Biala, Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar-in-Residence

Tamar BialaTamar Biala is engaged with Jewish feminism as a writer and lecturer. She received her BA in Jewish studies and in literature at the Hebrew University, and her MA in Women's Studies and Jewish Studies at the Schechter Institute. Her MA thesis, directed by professor Tamar Ross, was on "Feminist Theology's Critique of Divine Transcendence as a Means of Changing Conceptions of the 'Self,' and was directed by Professor Tamar Ross.

She has taught at IASA, Jerusalem's high school for gifted students, at the Hartman Institute's teacher training program, in pluralistic batei midrash in Israel and for the Israel Defence Forces. She has written in feminist theology and is the co-editor of "Dirshuni: Midrashei Nashim" (Yediot Acharonot, 2009), the first-ever collection of Midrashim written by contemporary Israeli women. 

Alexander Gogun, HBI-BGI Scholar-in-Residence

Alexander GogunAlexander Gogun is a Ph.D candidate at the Free University of Berlin. As a scholar of Ukrainian radical nationalism, communist secret services, World War II, Stalin’s partisans, Nazi propaganda and foreign policy of the Soviet Union, he has taught at Potsdam University and held a fellowship at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam. He held also a postdoctoral fellowship at the International Institute for the Holocaust Studies Yad Vashem. Gogun’s publications include pieces in the Israeli newspapers ВестиYedioth Ahronoth, Russian-Jewish Journal Корни” (The Roots), the Еврейская газета (Jewry newspaper) in Germany and the Journal “Голокост і сучасність (Holocaust and Modernity) in Kiev. His collaboration with the Research and Educational Holocaust Center in Moscow made possible the editing of the collection of the interview-memoirs, “Неконвенциональная войнаГРУ и НКВД в тылуВермахта,” (Unconventional Warfare, GRU and NKVD in the Rear of the Wehrmacht).

Gogun has participated in several conferences about Jews or the Holocaust including at talk at Jewish Museum in Athens on the role of Jews in the Soviet Ukrainian partisan struggle against Nazism, and a presentation on collective memory about the Holocaust in Russia and the Ukraine in the 21st century at the Symposium of the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity in Vienna in May 2015.

During his residency at HBI, Gogun will research Jewish women in Soviet partisan groups in the Ukraine during WWII, the continuation of his paper, "Indifference, Suspicion, and Exploitation: Soviet Units Behind the Front Lines of the Wehrmacht and Holocaust in Ukraine, 1941–44."

Rachel Gordan, Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar-in-Residence

Rachel GordanDr. Rachel Gordan is a scholar of American Jewish religion and culture. After receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University in religious studies, and at the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto, where she served as the advisor to the undergraduate program in American Studies. At Harvard, Northwestern, University of Toronto and York University, Dr. Gordan has taught courses in Jewish Studies and American religious history. Her first book (forthcoming from Harvard University Press), is currently titled How Judaism Became an American Religion.

At HBI, Dr. Gordan is working on a "biography" of the 1947 bestselling novel-turned-Academy Award-winning film, Gentleman's Agreement, and its author Laura Z. Hobson, the daughter of Socialist party leaders and Yiddishists. This work has recently been published

Katka Reszke, Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar-in-Residence

Katka ReszkeKatka Reszke is a writer, documentary filmmaker, photographer and researcher in Jewish history, culture, and identity. Katka holds a Doctorate in Jewish Education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is the author of Return Of The Jew: Identity Narratives of the Third Post-Holocaust Generation of Jews in Poland (2013). Recently, she served as chief screenwriter of the acclaimed film Karski & The Lords of Humanity (2015).

During her residency at HBI, Katka will be developing her research-creation project The Meshugene Effect – a book and an experimental documentary featuring personal narratives of several Polish women, who embark on a pursuit of Jewish identity following an irrational feeling, a hunch about having Jewish descent. The project explores cultural and discursive contingencies surrounding religion, gender and authenticity and how they affect the way we make sense of experiences of memory and transition. All of this set against the landscape of troubled Polish-Jewish history and a new curious Polish-Jewish present.