Past HBI Scholars-in-Residence
Derya Agis earned her bachelor's degree in Italian language and literature from Ankara University, and her master's degree in English linguistics from Hacettepe University. She used to be a senior lecturer at Girne American University. She is the author of the "Emotional Expressions in Judeo-Spanish" and "Turkish Proverbs and Idioms: A Comparative Cognitive Pragmatic Approach to the Expression of Emotions via Facial Sensory Organs" (Lap-Lambert Academic Publishing, 2009) and the "Studies on Judeo-Spanish and Sephardic Culture: Cognitive Scientific Essays" (Lap-Lambert Academic Publishing, 2010). She has delivered various lectures at different symposia and published several papers about the Judeo-Spanish language and Sephardic culture. While at the HBI, she performed research on the similarities and differences between the gift-giving habits of the Turkish Sephardic and American Sephardic women.
Ornit Barkai's film credits include the documentaries "From Anne Frank's Window," "A Day in Poland," "Past Forward" (work-in-progress), which all explore post-Holocaust narratives from multi-generational perspectives; "A Moment of Silence" and "Manhattan Moments," which highlight 9/11 themes; and "Let Them Fly," which documents Jewish youth leadership in New England and is part of the media curriculum of the Boston Bureau of Jewish Education. Ornit offers diverse media production and broadcasting experience with regional and national radio and TV stations and international programming. She holds an master's degree in mass communications/TV production emphasis from Emerson College.
While at the HBI, Ornit Barkai carried out pre-production research for a documentary film on "The Polacas" (Polish women in Spanish), young women from the shtetls of Eastern Europe who were forced into prostitution in Argentina and Brazil by members of the Argentinean Jewish crime ring Zwi Migdal during the 19th and early 20th century. Working in a cinema verite style, Ornit aims to make a documentary that will offer a glimpse of the historic consequences of the ordeal of these tragic women.
Academic Year 2003-04
Montclair State University (New Jersey, USA)
Marleen S. Barr is herself a pioneer in the feminist criticism of science fiction. A professor of American Literature at Montclair State University, Barr specializes in postmodern fiction, narrative theory and cultural studies. Her many works include "Oy Pioneer!," "Lost in Space: Probing Feminist Science Fiction and Beyond." Barr spent her HBI residency working on a new novel, "Oy Quebecois!"
Tamar Barzel is assistant professor of ethnomusicology at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass., where she teaches courses on jazz, klezmer, the music of Cuba and Senegal, punk rock and the American avant-garde. Her research focuses on New York City's experimentalist downtown music scene, and especially on an artistic and cultural phenomenon of the 1990s known as "Radical Jewish Culture," when many artists turned their attention to writing unconventional music that drew on Jewish music and heritage in idiosyncratic ways, usually outside the sphere of klezmer. She is currently writing a book titled "Downtown and Disorderly: 'Radical Jewish Music' and its Discontents on Manhattan's Experimental Music Scene." In this book, she explores the relationship between avant-garde aesthetics and Jewish subjectivity, as theorized (through music) by several different artists. She presents her research regularly at conferences, including the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Society for American Music, the American Studies Association, the American Jewish Historical Society and the Jewish Music Forum. Most recently she published "The Praxis of Composition-Improvisation and the Poetics of Creative Kinship," which is forthcoming from the University of California press in a volume titled "Jazz/Not Jazz: The Music and Its Boundaries." This article argues for the key role played by jazz, both musically and conceptually, in American experimental music.
Norma Baumel Joseph
Academic Year 1999 - 2000
Associate Professor of Religion
Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec)
While in residence at HBI, Professor Joseph worked on her book manuscript about Rav Moshe Feinstein’s legal opinions and was the guest editor for “Food, Gender and Survival,” Volume 5 of Nashim.
Michal Ben Ya'akov
Lecturer, History Department
Efrata College for Education
Michal Ben Ya'akov's academic research centers around 19th and early 20th century Eretz-Israel, with special emphasis on North African and Sephardi Jewry. Combining her academic interests with her work teaching at the Efrata College of Education in Jerusalem, she has done research on the history of the school, originally the Mizrachi College for Women. She received her Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2002. While at HBI, Michal's research focused on the changing lives of Jewish immigrant widows from North Africa living in the various urban centers of 19th century Palestine.
Debra Reed Blank
Professor of Liturgy
Jewish Theological Seminary
Debra Reed Blank is the Rabbi Philip R. Alstat Assistant Professor of Jewish Liturgy at The Jewish Theological Seminary, where she teaches a variety of courses related to the topic of liturgy. Her portfolio includes classes on the liturgy of the High Holy Days and Shabbat, as well as the Passover Haggadah and Weekday Siddur. She also lectures widely and conducts adult education classes on the topic of liturgy. Debra graduated from Indiana University and earned her master's degree, rabbinical ordination and a doctorate in Liturgy and Rabbinics at JTS. She was a member of the first class of women to enter the Rabbinical School at JTS in 1984. She also has a master's degree in library science from Columbia University and has worked as a Judaica librarian. Debra has a long-standing interest in the role of ritual in Judaism. While in residence, she devoted her time to a systematic analysis of the ritual of /Simhat Bat/ for an upcoming book on the subject. The book's underlying theoretical considerations will be whether self-consciously crafted women's ritual (such as Simhat Bat) differs from men's ritual (e.g., the circumcision ceremony) and whether there are any implications for the general study of emergent ritual.
One of Israel's most celebrated authors of our times, author Orly Castel-Bloom writes about Israeli society from the perspective of the satirist with a strong sense of the absurd. Her novels and stories have been described as an “experiment in a new art form” for their daring use of language and the unusual treatment of their subjects. Recognized as one of the 50 most influential women in Israel, she has twice won the Prime Minister’s Prize as well as various other prestigious awards, and her novel "Dolly City" has been included in UNESCO’s Collection of Representative Works. Castel-Bloom came to the HBI in order to research the Israeli expatriate community for her next novel.
Julia Creet is an associate professor and chair of the department of English at York University in Toronto, Canada. She recently produced, directed and wrote a documentary called "MUM," which is the story of her mother's silence in respect to her history. While at the HBI, Creet worked on a second documentary and book, tentatively titled "The Need to Know"(film) and "A Genealogy of Genealogy"(book), which delves into the question of why she needed to know everything she discovered during her previous project. Specifically, she is curious about why there is such an innate need to know about one's own past, which has made the genealogy industry one of the largest pastimes (not to mention archive focuses) worldwide. Creet hoped to find a personal answer to this question through this large-scale ethnographic engagement. She would like to present her findings in a way that they are both appropriate for academics and accessible to general audiences.
Professor Julie Cwikel is the founder and director of the Center for Women’s Health Studies and Promotion, Israel’s only academic center of women’s health studies with a multi-disciplinary approach. In addition to her responsibilities as an associate professor in the department of social work at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Julie mentors non-traditional women students (minorities, mature students) in their own research through her position as the academic advisor to the continuing education unit. She has recently published a major new textbook, "Social Epidemiology: Strategies for Public Health Activism." While at the HBI, Cwikel carried out the U.S. portion of her current research project looking at how mothers transmit health information to their daughters. Her research investigated how women learn about critical health behaviors in their lives including menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and maintaining health and mental health.
Sharon DiFino, Ph.D.
Sharon DiFino is an expert in 18th and 19th century German literature, culture and intellectual history. She is an associate professor at the University of Florida, where she teaches courses in both the Germanic Studies and the Center of Gender and Women Studies. She is also the director of the UF Utrecht summer program. In 2007, Sharon received the 2007 Madelyn Lockhart Faculty Fellowship in Women’s Studies, which is awarded to emerging scholars within their disciplines and advances women and gender studies scholarship. Sharon holds a doctorate in 18th century German literature from the University of Massachusetts.
Sharon DiFino’s project at the HBI explores the parallels between the problems of liberal female Jewish intellectuals and writers in Germany and the Netherlands, as well as their possible mutual influence, from the late 18th century through WWII. The works that she analyzes focus on the cultural understanding of gender and ethnic identity and provide insight into the steps that these women took towards autonomy and emancipation.
University of Nottingham
Corrine Ducey received her Ph.D. in Russian/Holocaust Studies at the University of Nottingham in July 2007. Previous to her time there, she completed an honors undergraduate degree at Princeton University where she wrote her senior thesis on the "Democratisation of Germany after 1945," which addressed the role of the memory of the war, the Holocaust and German political culture on the development of German democracy. Corrine Ducey's proposed book-length project will examine the philosophical, social and political issues that influenced the discourse surrounding both the Holocaust and Anne Frank over the decades, including the need to focus on life-affirming lessons, the universalization of suffering, the role of iconic symbols in the representation of tragedy and the reluctance to directly confront the horrors of the Holocaust. The project will also examine the role of Anne's gender in her popularity, focusing on the dynamic between victimhood and resistance.
Jan Feldman is an associate professor and researcher of political thought and international politics at the University of Vermont. She received her bachelor’s degree at Swarthmore College, and both her master’s and doctorate degrees at Cornell University. She is widely traveled, fluent in several languages and has published works in the fields of Soviet political theory, the post-Soviet transition to democracy, trade policy and population theory. One such book includes "Lubavitchers as Citizens: A Paradox of Liberal Democracy." While at the HBI, Dr. Feldman looked at how the women, who as faithful committed members of traditional religions, deploy their civic citizenship rights in attempts to reform their religions. She used theoretical materials and open-ended interviews with the purpose of understanding women who challenge the male-dominated overlay of the interpretation of sacred religious texts.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Janice Fernheimer received her doctorate in rhetoric, writing and American literature from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. She is currently based at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, where she teaches undergraduate writing courses that investigate how new technologies affect our communication. She also teaches a graduate course that helps graduate students learn about and develop their own pedagogy. She is developing another undergraduate writing course that will focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict. During her residency, Janice worked on her book manuscript, "Steppin' Into Zion: The Rhetoric of Black Jewish Identity from Civil Rights to Black Power," which is based on her doctoral thesis. The book tells the rhetorical history of Hatzaad Harishon, a non-profit organization founded by white, liberal Jews to improve relations among Jews of all colors in Manhattan from 1964-1972. Janice took a gendered approach to the reexamination of her research and put particular emphasis on the roles of the exceptional women in leadership positions within the organization.
Trained in the Italian Jewish history and the history of Jewish culture, Federica Francesconi is a doctoral graduate of the University of Haifa and a recent Fellow of the Center of Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. One of the few scholars researching the numerous Italian archives, Francesconi has uncovered a complete archive of a female sisterhood from the Italian city of Modena. A unique resource for European and Jewish scholars, the archive constituted one of the main sources for Francesconi’s research at the HBI on Jewish women philanthropists in Northern Italy during the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Sociologist Michal Frenkel received her doctorate in 2001 from Tel Aviv University. An expert in work/family practices, Frenkel is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including a Fulbright in 1996, the Koret Foundation’s Post Doctoral Fellowship in 2000, and grants from both the Ford Foundation and the Israel Foundation Trustees. During her residency at the HBI, Frenkel focused her research on “Globalization and the Reconstruction of the Jewish-Israeli Gender Contract: Americas in Israel and Israelis in the U.S.”
Harriet Freidenreich is professor of history at Temple University in Philadelphia. A native of Ottawa, Canada, she earned a Ph.D. in Eastern European and Jewish History from Columbia University. She is the author of "The Jews of Yugoslavia" (JPS, 1979), "Jewish Politics in Vienna" (Indiana University Press, 1991), and "Female, Jewish, and Educated: The Lives of Central European University Women" (Indiana University Press, 2002). She is presently working on a project on Jewish women in academia in the mid-20th century.
Michelle Gewurtz has been teaching modern art history and curatorial practice at both York University and OCAD University in Toronto since returning to her hometown in January 2011, after completing her Ph.D. entitled "3 Women/3 Margins: Political Engagement and the Art of Claude Cahun, Jeanne Mammen, and Paraskeva Clark" (2011) at the University of Leeds, U.K. In the fall of 2011, she became actively involved as a visiting scholar at the Centre for Feminist Research and as an associate of the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies, both at York University. Michelle also worked as a curator at the Richmond Art Gallery in British Columbia. She has held curatorial and educational positions in public galleries in Ontario, Canada, including the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and A Space Gallery. She has maintained an active involvement with A Space, one of the oldest artist-run centers in Canada. She has published curatorial writing including catalogue essays on contemporary Canadian art, as well as review articles on Claude Cahun and Paraskeva Clark. She is also an active member of the Canadian Women Artists History Initiative, which is a collaborative endeavor that brings resources and researchers together to enhance scholarship on historical women artists in Canada.
Independent Poet, Novelist, Journalist
Shulamit Gilboa holds a bachelor's degree in Hebrew literature and a master's in philosophy from Tel Aviv University. Since 1984, she has been deputy literary editor and, since 2005, she has been the literary editor-in-chief of the daily "Yedioth Ahronoth." During those years, she also wrote a weekly book column. She received the Tel Aviv Literature and Art Foundation Award and a writing stipend at Oxford in 1999. Her bestseller, "Four Men and a Woman," was awarded the Book Publishers Association's Gold and Platinum Book Prizes (2000). "Alma's Way," also a bestseller, was awarded the Book Publishers Association's Gold Book Prizes (2003).
During her residency, Gilboa prepared and wrote her next novel about the lives of four siblings and the complex relationships within a family. The novel narrates the lives of a sister and her three brothers, and describes through their interactions the development of each of them from infancy to adulthood. The events depict the struggles within the family, the different attitudes each of the siblings has towards the parents, and their individual views, beliefs and expressions. The plot, which takes place in Israel and in Boston, focuses on the youngest sister who, while writing a paper about gender and family, projects about her own life, the lives of her brothers and their surroundings, and the events that take place during the 30+ year span of the story.
Stephen Glantz’s film and theater credits include "Europa Europa" (producer), "Babij Jar" (creator and writer), and "Tanglewood Tale" (co-writer). His most recent film "Der Letzte Zug/ The Last Train" (writer) tells the story of three Jewish families and the six days they spent in a cattle car during their “relocation” from Berlin to Auschwitz. The film earned the Special Jury Prize at the 2006 Bavarian Film Awards and also received the imprimatur of the president of the Republic of Germany. At the HBI, Stephen Glantz used his residency to write a novel about the life of the people of a fictional Polish town known as Zolkiew prior to World War II.
Novelist and MacArthur Award winner
Rebecca Goldstein delivered the keynote address at HBI's Spring 2000 Conference on Gender and Jewish Education and completed her novel "Properties of Light."
Academic Year 2003-04
Salem State College (Salem, Mass.)
Ellen Golub attended Hebrew College and holds a doctorate in American Literature and Psychoanalysis from SUNY Buffalo. A former professor of English and Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, she currently serves as professor of communications at Salem State College. In addition to academic articles and journalistic prose, she has written a young adult novel, "Is My Mom OK?" During her residency at HBI, she worked on a short story and a Talmudic style commentary for a “new Jewish reader.”
Ruth Ellen Gruber
Ruth Ellen Gruber is an award-winning American writer, photographer and independent scholar living in Europe. For more than 20 years, she has chronicled Jewish cultural developments and other contemporary European Jewish issues. Her books include “National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe” (2007), "Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe" (2002), and "Upon the Doorposts of Thy House: Jewish Life in East-Central Europe, Yesterday and Today" (1994). A former foreign correspondent for United Press International, she is the senior correspondent in Europe for JTA, and her articles and photographs have appeared in the New York Times, Business Week, Jewish Quarterly Review, Tablet Magazine, Moment Magazine, Hadassah Magazine and many other publications. Other honors include three Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism, and research grants from the Littauer Foundation and Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, as well as the HBI's Michael Hammer Tribute Research grant, with which she began work on her (Candle)sticks on Stone project in 2009. While at the HBI, Ruth worked on "(Candle)sticks on Stone: Representing the Woman in Jewish Tombstone Art," which began in 2009 with an HBI research grant. It centers on a photographic documentation of the often elaborate tombstones of women in the historic Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe, mainly in and around the Bucovina region of northern Romania – including the Jewish cemetery in Radauti, where some of Ruth Ellen Gruber's ancestors are buried. Focusing on the remarkably varied sculptural representation of candlesticks on these tombs, the project fuses visual documentation and photographic art with research, reportage, reflection and memoir. It encompasses issues of gender, identity and tradition and explores how tradition is (or is not) transmitted. The project is centered on a public website and blog, but will also result in more traditionally published works.
The Candlesticks website is – http://candlesticksonstone.wordpress.com
Academic Year 2004-05
CEIEG-Universidad del CEMA (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Adviser to the Secretary of Human Rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Commerce and Culture (Argentina), professor Beatriz Gurevich is an expert in the fields of social anthropology, political history and human rights. She received a master's degree in social anthropology from the University of Buenos Aires, where she also received her license in sociology. She is currently project director of the Program CIRSOF at the Universidad del CEMA in the Institute for International and Globalization Studies. The author of several books and numerous articles, Gurevich’s work at HBI focused on transnational terrorism and Jewish women’s political activism following the AMIA bombing in 1994.
Rita Horvath is a literary scholar and a historian. She received her doctorate from Bar-Ilan University (Ramat Gan, Israel) in 2003. At present, she is a research fellow at the International Institute for Holocaust Research in Yad Vashem. Her fields of research are the history of the Holocaust in Hungary, Holocaust literature, 20th century American literature and literary theory. She has published numerous studies, articles and conference papers in these fields. Her books include "The History of the National Relief Committee for Deportees, 1944-1952," "Never Asking Why Build — Only Asking Which Tools: Confessional Poetry and the Construction of the Self," and "Previously Unexplored Sources on the Holocaust in Hungary." Currently, Horvath is participating in the "Children's Holocaust Testimony Project" together with Professor Joel Walters (Bar-Ilan University) and Dr. Boaz Cohen at Bar-Ilan University. She teaches in the Holocaust Studies Program at Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest, Hungary) and English literature at Bar-Ilan University.
Dr. Ruth Kara-Ivanov Kaniel is a lecturer in the department of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, and an interdisciplinary fellow in the Tel Aviv Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis. Kaniel received her doctorate in Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her thesis, "Motherhood and Seduction in the Myth of David's Messianic Dynasty, the Hebrew Bible, Rabbinic Literature and the Zoharic Corpus," focuses on the Messianic myth from the perspective of gender theory and psychoanalysis. She was a post doctoral scholar in the Tikvah Center at New York University and was a graduate of the outstanding doctoral student program of the Lafer Center for Women Studies and the Revivim program at the Hebrew University. Kaniel is the recipient of several awards including the 2012 Shlomo Pines Prize for Research by an Outstanding Young Scholar. In addition to her academic research, she is a poet and a translator of Russian poetry. In 2009, Hebrew University presented Kaniel with the "Rachel Negev" literature award for her book "Ein Sheket Baolam Klal." As an HBI scholar-in-residence, her research explored the meeting points between feminism, gender theory and kabbalistic thought.
Fall 2006 and Summer 2012
Eyal Katvan received his doctorate from the Faculty of Law, Bar-Ilan University, where he produced his thesis, “Compulsory Examinations and Their Connection to the Oppression of Women.” He is both a post-doctoral student at the Faculty of Law, and a doctoral candidate at the Interdisciplinary Program for Science, Technology & Society at Bar-Ilan University (for which he produced his thesis, “The Medical, Physical and Mental Examinations of Jewish Immigrants to Eretz Israel 1919-1938”). Eyal’s academic interests lie in the fields of bioethics, law & medicine, legal history and the history of medicine; however, he specializes in the topics of “Medical, Physical and Mental Examinations,” as well as “Women in the Law." Having served as a member of the Israeli Bar since May 1998, Katvan has served as a country representative at The International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics (FAB), as well as a visiting scholar in The Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Ethics Committee and of the Helsinki Committee at Rabin Medical Center. During his residency at the HBI, Katvan explored the topic of "Women's Entrance into and Integration within the Legal Profession in Eretz Israel and in Israel."
Instructor, Jewish Studies, Creative Writer
University of Minnesota
Judith Katz is the author of two published novels, "The Escape Artist" and "Running Fiercely Toward a High Thin Sound," which won a Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Fiction. Among her numerous awards and grants she has received Bush Foundation, McKnight Foundation and National Endowment fellowships for fiction, as well as two Minnesota State Arts Board Grants. She teaches cultural studies and literature courses for both the University of Minnesota's Center for Jewish Studies and the department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, as well as creative writing courses for the Hamline University MFA program.
At the HBI, Judith worked on her novel, "Atomic Age," which looks at the lives of two Worcester Jewish families during the 1940s, '50s and '60s. Set against a backdrop of the development of the atomic bomb, the creation of the new state of Israel, and the arrests and executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, "Atomic Age" asks the following questions: How does the unfolding of community histories impact and influence the history of a family and its individual members? How does a family outsider experience that history? How does she contribute to the family narrative? Understand it? Repair it?
Academic Year 2002-03
Professor of World Civilizations
Berklee College of Music (Boston)
Professor Katz completed her book on Jewish and Palestinian women peace activists, "Women and Gender in Early Jewish and Palestinian Nationalis," and began research on a new project on the history of grassroots contact between Arabs and Jews in Israel and Palestine.
Melissa R. Klapper is an associate professor of American and women's history at Rowan University. She has a bachelor's degree from Goucher College and a doctorate from Rutgers University and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She is the author of two books, "Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920" (NYU Press, 2005) and "Small Strangers: The Experiences of Immigrant Children in the United States, 1880-1925" (Ivan R. Dee, Publisher, 2007). At the HBI, Professor Klapper's work focused on American Jewish women's pre-World War II activism in the suffrage, birth control and peace movements. She has been awarded numerous fellowships for this work from sources as varied as the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and the Schlesinger Library on the History of American Women at Harvard. Professor Klapper is interested in the ways Jewish identity historically motivated Jewish women's significant activism in social movements.
Stanislav Kolář, Ph.D.
Stanislav Kolář is an associate professor at the University of Ostrava, Czech Republic. He teaches American literature and American studies at the department of English and American studies. In 1988, he published a book of poetry "Tenisový sen" (Tennis Dream). The outcome of his long-time interest in Jewish American literature was the publication of his book, "Evropské kořeny americké židovské literatury" ("European Roots of Jewish American Literature") in 1998. In 2004, he published a book in English, "Seven Responses to the Holocaust in American Fiction." His latest book is "Reflections of Trauma in Selected Works of Postwar American and British Literature," which he published together with his co-authors Zuzana Buráková and Katarína Šandorová in 2010. He studied and lectured at various universities, including Brandeis University in 1994; in 2000, he was a Fulbright scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. The subject of his HBI research project was “Transformations of Contemporary Jewish American Fiction.”
Sapir Academic College
Hagar Lahav is the head of the journalism program in the School of Communication at Sapir Academic College in Israel. She specializes in feminist politics, journalism studies and feminist media studies. she has recently become increasingly engrossed in feminist theology and Jewish studies. In her work in this field she combines post-secular theories with political theology. Prior to completing her doctorate, Lahav was the deputy head of the news division of the Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz. She received her doctorate from Tel Aviv University in 2006. Lahav will examine the idea that perceptions of God, which appear in several Jewish theological writings, can empower secular women's self-autonomy. She aims to answer two major questions: How can she, as an atheist, bring God into her life, so that she can use this force? And which kind of God should it be, so that it will meet her feminist perspective and goals? Her study will focus on the writings of 20th century Jewish thinkers that were inspired by Hassidic and Psycho-Kabbalh mysticism, such as Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag and the philosophers Martin Buber and A.D Gordon.
Associate Professor of German and Holocaust Studies
Uta Larkey is an associate professor of German and Holocaust studies at Goucher College in Baltimore, Md. Her current course offerings include Jews in Germany from the Haskalah to the Rise of Nazi Regime and Literature and Film on the Holocaust. She co-teaches an Oral History on the Holocaust course in which the students interview local Holocaust survivors and retell parts of their life stories in schools and synagogues. She has also organized several public events on and off campus with Holocaust survivors and their families.
Larkey's co-authored book project, "Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust: A Jewish Family's Untold Story," was recently published (2011) with Cambridge University Press. Through letters and interviews the book narrates a family history of emigration, immigration and deportation. While in residence, Larkey conducted her project "Past Forward: the Holocaust in Family Memory," which explores the role of generational shifts in addressing and narrating the events of the Holocaust and investigates the role of the third generation as the facilitator for Holocaust memory.
Anne Lapidus Lerner
A popular lecturer and scholar-in-residence, Anne Lapidus Lerner teaches courses in the portrayal of women in Jewish literature and Judaism, religious issues in modern Jewish literature, and modern biblical rewriting. She is the first woman to hold the post of vice chancellor at JTS (Jewish Theological Seminary) and, as such, was one of the highest-ranking women in American Jewish institutional life. She earned her bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees from Harvard University and her B.J. Ed. (scl) and M.H.L. from Hebrew College, Boston.
“Revealing Sarah,” Anne’s project at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, brings together her interests in both Jewish women’s studies and the ways in which classic Jewish texts and traditions relate to Jews today. It develops the approach she used in her most recent book, "Eternally Eve: Images of Eve in the Hebrew Bible, Midrash, and Modern Jewish Poetry" (HBI Series on Jewish Women through Brandeis University Press, 2007). As both a scholar and an activist, Anne has been a pioneer in the field of Jewish Women's Studies and a leader in the struggle for women’s rights in Judaism.
Bar Ilan University
Renana Leviani is a student in the department of philosophy at Bar-Ilan University in the Doctoral Fellowship of Excellence program where she works on her dissertation. Using a feminist perspective, she examines the moral status of prostitution — particularly claims that would allow the practice on the basis of women's autonomy. Leviani received her master's in educational administration and leadership from Tel Aviv University. An advocate for human rights, she produces, edits and hosts a radio program devoted to the topic for Kol HaShalom station in Jerusalem. The HBI was thrilled to welcome Leviani as our first Fulbright-HBI Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship scholar.
University of Maryland in Europe
University of Frankfurt
Tobe Levin is professor of English and women’s studies at the University of Maryland in Europe and adjunct at the University of Frankfurt. She has a doctorate in comparative literature from Cornell University and has studied and taught at numerous institutions in Europe. Levin is the editor of Feminist Europa, and the chair of FORWARD – Germany against FGM (female genital mutilation). She spent her time at HBI editing a collection of articles on the work of the controversial Austrian writer, Nobel Prize winner Elfried Jelinek.
Judith Lewin is an assistant professor at Union College in New York where she teaches courses on European and American Jewish literature; comparative literature; women's studies; and 18th and 20th century French, German and British literatures. She has written numerous articles and is the author of "Literary Jewesses" and "Nineteenth-Century Jewish Women: A Dynamics of Identification." She received her doctorate in comparative literature from Princeton University. At the HBI, Judith Lewin developed the manuscript of her next book devoted to Jewish women writers.
Nina B. Lichtenstein
Nina B. Lichtenstein is a visiting assistant professor in Jewish studies at Trinity College where she teaches Sephardic studies. She holds a doctorate in literature from the University of Connecticut, a master's in French and a bachelor's in Jewish studies and French, also from the University of Connecticut. She has taught languages, literature and Jewish studies in the U.S. and in Norway at high school and college levels, and she lectures and does research on various topics including Sephardic women's writing, memory and identity, as well as film and Holocaust studies. While at HBI she worked on developing her dissertation entitled "Maghrebian Memories: Exodus and Marginality in Sephardic Women's Writing" into a book manuscript, as well as exploring opportunities for a project translating francophone Sephardic women's novels into English. After attending the Unites States Holocaust Memorial Museum's summer workshop in 2010, Lichtenstein also began a research project looking at testimonials by francophone Sephardic women's experiences during WWII. She explored how their experiences differ from that of Ashkenazi women and how their memory can fit into a larger Holocaust narrative. Lichtenstein has served on the Committee for the Hartford Jewish Film Festival and was the co-chair of the festival's new Tribute Film Competition honoring Holocaust Survivors and the Spirit of Survival. After being part of developing Chai Mitzvah, a pioneering program for Jewish adults, in 2009 to 2010, she is a consultant for the nonprofit as it is launched nationally. Lichtenstein lives in West Hartford, Conn., with her three teenage children.
Saint Louis University
Julia Lieberman is a researcher of early modern western Sephardic Jews, a scholar of Spanish literature, a native Spanish speaker and a fluent Portuguese speaker. She has also completed extensive research of Hebrew and Sephardic writings, and is the editor of the first Spanish-language textbook on Sephardic history written expressively for use in the classroom. She holds a doctorate in Spanish and Latin American Literature from Yale University.
Lieberman’s study at the HBI of the Western Sephardim in the early modern period examined the educational system and the roles of women and children in life cycle events, as well as male attitudes towards education, family life, women and children.
Keren R. McGinity
Keren R. McGinity is a gender historian who specializes in American Jews and Intermarriage. Prior to being a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan's Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, McGinity was the inaugural Mandell L. Berman Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Contemporary American Jewish Life and a faculty associate in the American Culture Program in Ann Arbor. Earlier in her career, she was a visiting assistant professor of history at Brown University, where she also earned her doctorate. She has taught American history, ethnic studies and literature courses at Brown and at Stonehill College, as well as lectured nationally.
McGinity was the maiden graduate research fellow at the Jewish Women's Archive, where she currently serves on the Academic Advisory Council. She is also an active board member of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry, an advisor to the Jewish Outreach Institute, and served for several years on the Women's Caucus of the Association for Jewish Studies. The paperback edition of "Still Jewish: A History of Women and Intermarriage in America," which was Dr. McGinity's first book and a finalist for the 2009 National Jewish Book Award in Women's Studies, was published in January 2012 (NYU Press).
While at the HBI, McGinity revised and completed her second book manuscript, "Jewish Men: Reinventing Intermarriage and Fatherhood," for timely publication. Interweaving ethnography with traditional archival sources, this work will significantly broaden the understanding of intermarried Jewish men by elucidating the meanings behind their choices, the gentile women who marry them, and the influential role of popular culture.
A native of Lithuania, Jolanta Mickute received her first master's degree in Philology from Vilnius University and her second master's in Jewish Studies from Oxford University. She has studied Yiddish at Oxford in England, the Vilnius Yiddish Institute in Lithuania and the Shalom Foundation in Warsaw, Poland. Mickute is an expert in modern Jewish history, with specializations in east European/Russian history and Jewish studies. She received her doctorate in history from Indiana University in August 2011, having completed her thesis on Jewish women nationalists under the guidance of Jeffrey Veidlinger and Marci Shore. Entitled “Modern, Jewish, and Female: The Politics of Culture, Ethnicity, and Sexuality in Interwar Poland, 1918-1939,” her dissertation is a political, cultural and sexual history of Jewish women in the fledgling democracy of Poland. It incorporates the marginalized historical narrative of Jewish women into modern Jewish historiography, still predominantly a male-oriented field. Focusing on the Polish Jewish minority in the Second Republic of Poland, it shows how Jewish women, a social group subsumed within the Jewish ethnic minority, contended with their status of double marginality. She argues that Polish Zionist women — fractured along class and generational lines — were able, in a gendered fashion, to negotiate their marginality in order to assert their own agendas and autonomy.
The novelist Tova Mirvis received her MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University's School of the Arts. Delving into the confrontation between the obligations and limits of traditional, religious life and living in the modern world, Tova's first two novels, "The Ladies Auxiliary" and "The Outside World," received glowing reviews and have been translated into many languages. Her upcoming third novel, "Inside Voices," explores the contemporary landscape of motherhood and looks at the impact of social expectation on female identity. Tova's fiction has also been included in many anthologies and publications including, "Who We Are: On Being and Not Being a Jewish American Writer," "Longing: Psychoanalytical Musings on Desire," and "The Modern Jewish Girls' Guide to Guilt." She has written reviews and essays for publications such as The New York Times Book Review, The Forward and Poets and Writers. While in residence at the HBI, Tova began work on her next novel.
Dr. Rivka Neriya-Ben Shahar
Academic Year 2011-12 (Fulbright)
Dr. Rivka Neriya-Ben Shahar was born in Jerusalem and lives there today with her spouse and three children. She has taught at the Ben Gurion University and the Open University and is currently a lecturer at the Sapir Academic College in Sderot, Israel. Her doctoral thesis at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was on "Ultra-Orthodox Women and Mass Media in Israel: Exposure Patterns and Reading Strategies." Neriya-Ben Shahar studied mass media and Internet usage from the perspectives of religion and gender. Her current research project develops an innovative theoretical understanding of the relationship between religion, society and gender. This study will analyze women's cultural-religious praxes — especially those linked to food: "taking hallah" and "Amens meals." In 2011 to 2012, Neriya-Ben Shahar was in Boston as a Fulbright Post Doctoral Fellowship recipient and scholar-in-residence, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, at Brandeis University.
Independent Scholar, Soloist, Performance Artist, Writer and Lecturer
Vanessa Paloma is active as a soloist, performance artist, writer and lecturer. She founded and co-directs Flor de Serena, a Judeo-Spanish ensemble based in Los Angeles, and has toured a solo show, "Sephardic Songs of the Sea," combining Ladino songs and kabbalistic teachings. She has recently published her first book entitled, "Mystic Siren: Woman's Voice in the Balance of Creation." In addition, she leads workshops and gives classes on Jewish mysticism, Sephardic culture and women's religious expression.
Paloma focuses on the links between women, spirituality and creativity. While at the HBI, she wrote about the formulation of identity through the eyes of women by analyzing secular women's songs of the Spanish-speaking Jewish population of Morocco. Her project was composed of three components including a book on Sephardic women's songs of Northern Morocco, a songbook for the public containing historical and societal information on women singers and their lives in the Moroccan ghettos, and a performance incorporating music and cultural information.
Channa Pinchasi is a doctoral student at the gender department at Bar Ilan University and a research fellow at Hartman Institute. Her research focuses on gender construction in Midrash Eicha Rbbah, the sages'- Chazal's- exegesis to Lamentations. Besides her academic work, she is writing (mainly in Hebrew) on gender and meaningful Jewish life in different contexts – i.e., YNET, (Israeli news website), journals and newspapers. She also serves as the volunteering spokesperson of Kolech, the Israeli orthodox women's feminist organization. Pinchasi spent three years in Toronto, Canada, serving as the representative of the education department of the Jewish Agency. In the last few years, she has been leading two feminist Beit Midrash programs for women: 'Isha El Achota' in Herzog Center and 'Chader Misheach' (a room of one's own) at Hartman Istitute in Jerusalem. Pinchasi lives with her husband Gili and their four children in Efrat, Gush Ezion.
Dr. Inbar Raveh is a scholar of rabbinical literature (aggadah) and of modern Hebrew literature, in addition to being a poet. Her recent academic focus has been examining the Legends of the Sages through a gendered lens. Dr. Raveh is a fellow at the Interdisciplinary Program for Gender Studies at Bar Ilan University and a lecturer in the Program for Talmud and Ancient Hebrew Literature at Tel Aviv University. Dr. Raveh completed her latest study, On Their Own: Feminist Readings in Rabbinic Literature (Resling, forthcoming) while a research fellow and participant in the Seder Nashim program for Jewish and Gender Studies at the Hartmann Institute (2009-2011). Her current project applies Irigaray’s conception of femininity as fluidity to rabbinical literature. While at the HBI, she focused on examining instances of weeping as opportunities for rethinking gender distinctions.
Reina Reiner’s project is an exploration of the changing nature of orthodox family life in Israeli society as presented in the theater. Building on her recent book, "The Audacity of Holiness: Orthodox Women’s Theatre," she will now analyze repertoire and fringe plays, as well as study the reactions to them through ethnographic fieldwork. She aims to provide new insights about new emerging Jewish family patterns in orthodox society. A pioneer in the field of anthropological theater studies, Reiner is among the first to study theater within the context of Israeli orthodox society. In addition to her course work, Reiner regularly lectures and holds workshops on the connection between drama and teaching. She has a master's in Theatre Studies from Tel-Aviv University and a doctorate in sociology and anthropology from Hebrew University.
Larissa I. Remennick
Academic Year 2004-05
Larissa Remennick is associate professor and past chair of the department of sociology and anthropology at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. Born in Russia, she holds a doctorate in sociology and demography of health from the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow (1988). While at HBI, Remennick completed an article on changing attitudes towards femininity, sexuality and gender roles among former soviet immigrant women in the United States.
"‘Being a Woman is Different Here:’ Changing Attitudes towards Femininity, Sexuality, and Gender Roles among Former Soviet Immigrant Women in the U.S.”
Academic Year 2001-02
Human rights activist and Jewish community organizer
While in residence at the HBI, Tania Reytan laid the groundwork for research on Jewish women's communal participation in the Balkans (Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania and Yugoslavia)
Lilach Rosenberg earned her doctorate from Bar-Ilan University and is a lecturer in the Martin Szusz Department of Eretz Israel Studies. The focus of her research is historiography, gender and Israeli studies. She has published many works including "Revolutionaries Despite Themselves: Women and Gender in Religious Zionism in the Yishuv Period." She is also the recipient of the Alon Scholarship. At the HBI, Rosenberg continued her studies of the formation of the female identity in Israel. In particular, she examined the way cultural, religious and social contexts impact the development of the female identity, within a historical perspective, as well as a contemporary perspective. She is currently completing her research concerning Shlihot Aliya from Eretz Israel (envoys for Jewish immigration to Palestine during the British Mandate) by carrying out an integrative analysis of three historical episodes and of the context they took place in.
Moshe Rosman is a professor of Jewish history at Bar-Ilan University and is the author of numerous books and articles on the history of Eastern European Jews. His publications have received many awards including the 1996 National Jewish Book Award for "Founder of Hasidism: A Quest for the Historical Ba’al Shem Tov," which also won the Shazar Prize for Best Book in Jewish History in 2000. Considered one of the finest scholars in the world working on the early modern period (1500 – 1800) of Jewish history in Poland, Rosman is the only male in the field who has done significant history on women. His research while at the HBI focused on gender as a crucial element in understanding the integrated social and economic networks of the Jews in Eastern Europe during this time period.
Hannah Safran teaches at the women’s studies program in Emek Yizrael College in the North of Israel and also in women’s studies and art at the Lesley University extension in Netanya. She has been involved in both feminist activism and academic research on feminism for many years and is one of the co-founders of the organization Women’s Coalition for Just Peace. Her most recent book is titled "Don't Wanna be Nice Girls: The Struggle for Suffrage and the New Feminism in Israel."
Academic Year 1998-99
Professor of Anthropology
During her period of residence at HBI, Susan Sered researched women’s health issues in Israel and wrote "What Makes Women Sick," published in the Brandeis Series on Jewish Women. Sered also was the guest editor for “Motherhood,” Volume 3 of Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies and Gender Issues, now published by Indiana University Press in conjunction with HBI and the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.
Academic Year 2003-04
Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research (Tel Hashomer, Israel)
Carmel Shalev is director of the Unit of Health Rights and Ethics at the Gertner Institute for Health Policy Research and teaches health and human rights at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. She is a member of the Israel Helsinki Committee for Genetic Experiments in Human Beings and of the Scientific and Ethical Review Group (SERG) of the World Health Organization Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction, Geneva. Shalev spent the spring semester at HBI working on a book-length project entitled “Gen-Tech Women,” a gendered exploration of the legal, moral and ethical implications of reproductive and genetic technology.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Susan Shapiro is associate professor of Judaic & Near Eastern Studies and director of the Religious Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has also taught at Columbia University, Hebrew University's Rothberg School, University of Delaware and Syracuse University. She is the author of "Recovering the Sacred: Ethics, Hermeneutics and Theology after the Holocaust (forthcoming)." Until recently, there has been virtually no gender-oriented analysis within Jewish philosophy.Shapiro will begin to remedy this situation with her project, which systematically treats a range of Jewish philosophers and makes a sustained argument about the ways in which these texts/philosophers are interrelated as regards to their treatment of the body, gender and women, forming a specific strand of Jewish philosophy. She focuses on the strand of Jewish philosophy that begins with Moses Maimonides and goes through Emmanuel Levinas. By employing practices she terms "reading for gender," the genealogy and consequences of the gender-ideologies of these texts are explicated.
Academic Year 2000-01
Bar-Ilan University (Ramat Gan, Israel)
Margalit Shilo continued her research on Jewish women in pre-state Palestine and published an article on 19th century Yiddish pamphlets written by women.
Rabbi Sheila Shulman
Academic Year 2002-03
Finchley Reform Synagogue, Beit Klal Yisrael (gay and lesbian synagogue), Leo Baeck College, (London, UK)
During her residency (coinciding with a well-deserved sabbatical), Rabbi Sheila Shulman wrote an article on the history and construct of Jewish lesbian identity.
Maina Chawla Singh
University of Delhi (India)
Maina Chawla Singh teaches at the College of Vocational Studies (University of Delhi). From 2005 to 2008, she researched and lectured in Israel at Bar-Ilan, Haifa and Tel Aviv universities. Her previous research focused on gender and colonialism and in addition to numerous essays and articles, Singh is the author of "Gender, Religion, and 'Heathen Lands': American Missionary Women in South Asia" (1860s to 1940s), (New York: 2000). She has lectured at universities in the United States, United Kingdom and elsewhere.
During her residency, Maina Chawla Singh's research focused on the community of Indian Jews in Israel. Based on field work done in Israel (2005 to 2008), the study examined issues of ethnicity, migration and diasporic identities. Within the wider research, a special project focused on the narratives of first-generation Indian-Jewish women who came from Bombay, Calcutta and Cochin in the 1950s, '60s and '70s and were settled in moshavs, 'development towns' and elsewhere in Israel. Singh examined 'Profiles' of women to show how ethnicity and religion intersect with gender to shape women's lives both in matters of home and family, as well as in the 'public sphere' of work and professions. Her research was completed as an edited volume.
Dr. Haim Sperber is a Senior Lecturer at the Western Galilee College in Israel where he chairs the
Interdisciplinary Studies department. Dr. Sperber is an historian who has investigated various topics including: 19th century Jewish Deserted women (Agunot); 19th century English Chief Rabbinate; 19th century Anglo-Jewish philanthropy and Anglo Jewish leadership. Dr. Sperber is also a member of the Haifa university forum of researchers of immigration. During his stay at HBI he is researching deserted wives (Agunot) in Jewish society 1897-1914. This is a continuation of his research on Agunot 1857-1896 on which he published a few articles.
Nina S. Spiegel
Nina S. Spiegel specializes in Jewish public culture in Israel and America, Jewish dance, and museums and the construction of memory. She holds a doctorate in history from Stanford University and has taught at American University, the University of Maryland and Stanford University, as well as served as curator at the National Museum of American Jewish History. Her book, "Embodying Hebrew Culture: Aesthetics, Athletics and Dance in the Jewish Community of Mandate Palestine," is forthcoming from Wayne State University Press. The manuscript examines the evolution of Israeli culture while uncovering its connection to the country's social and political dynamics. It received honorable mention for the Cashmere Subvention Prize, an award for work that demonstrates innovation in Jewish and gender studies. Her article on the 1937 National Dance Competition in Mandate Palestine received honorable mention for the Raphael Patai Prize in Jewish Folklore and Ethnology. Spiegel has presented her research at conferences including the American Historical Association, the Association for Jewish Studies, the Association for Israel Studies, the Congress on Research in Dance, and the Society of Dance History Scholars. She served on the board of the Congress on Research in Dance from 2004 to 2007.
Sachlav Stoler-Liss has completed extensive research in the faculty of Health Sciences, Israeli social history, and Anthropology. Her thesis is the first of its kind to examine the role of health workers in the absorption process of new immigrants during mass migration. She received her master's degree from Tel Aviv University in the field of sociology and anthropology and her doctorate from Ben Gurion University in 2007. She is the recipient of a doctoral grant from the National Institute for Health Service and Health Policy Research. Sachlav is lecturer of Mass Communications and health issues, and has published three papers in scholarly journals in Israel and abroad. At the HBI, Stoler-Liss continued the research she began while recently completing her doctorate, which focused on the medical absorption of immigrants by nurses and doctors during the mass immigration to Israel in the 1950s.
Academy for Television & Film
Filmmaker Liliane Targownik was born in Munich. After graduating from the Academy for Television & Film (HFF) in Munich she worked as director, scriptwriter and journalist for television and radio in Germany and Israel. She completed her studies in 2003 with a master's degree from Tel Aviv University in Jewish Philosophy. Targownik has served as a visiting lecturer for screenwriting at the Baden-Wuerttemberg Film Academy, the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film in Munich, the Tel Aviv University, Film and Television Department and the Sam Spiegel Film and TV School, Jerusalem. Her films include: "Da schaut man nicht" (1982), "Zwischenspiel" (1988), "Aktion Suehnezeichen" (1989), "Leben im Muell" (1990), "Moving" (1991), and "Rosenzweig's Freedom" (Rosenzweigs Freiheit, 1998). During her residency at HBI, Targownik finalized the screenplay for her next film, “The Rabbi and the Savior.”
Dalia Wassner earned her doctorate in history at Northeastern University in May 2012. Her dissertation, "Argentine Intellectuals as Harbingers of Modernity: The Democratization Projects of Marcos Aguinis," studies the multi-faceted civic and literary portfolio of a Jewish Latin American intellectual and his efforts to promote inclusive and participatory democracy in Argentina in the post-dictatorship period. Prior to her doctorate, she earned her A.A. at the University of Pennsylvania, master's degrees in both history and Latin American studies at Stanford University, and an M.Phil. in Jewish studies at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
During her residency at the HBI, Wassner's research focused on three Argentine Jewish women's responses to national moments of violence through literature, film and satirical journals that are noteworthy as both historical products and as cultural and political agents of change.
George Mason University
Sociologist Lenore Weitzman is known in recent years for her many contributions to the field of Holocaust studies, especially for her innovation of carrying out a gendered analysis of the subject. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her work on the Holocaust, and is a co-editor with Dalia Ofer, of the groundbreaking "Women in the Holocaust," a Jewish Book Award finalist. A professor of history, sociology, gender studies and law, Lenore has also published widely on the social and economic consequences of divorce.
Lenore spent her time at the HBI researching, interviewing and collecting archival materials about the little known Kashariyot – the female couriers who aided the Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. The book that she is now writing is based on her research and will provide a missing chapter in the history of the Holocaust and a new understanding of the wide range of women’s roles and activities in those years.