Past Events

Studio Israel: Featuring Raida Adon

October 14, 2021

Studio Israel is an online conversation series that looks at Israeli culture and diversity through the lens of contemporary Israeli artists and creatives. Featuring visual and performing artists, designers, dancers and more, all framed by Brandeis University academic expertise.  

Dr. Gannit Ankori, Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator of the Rose Art Museum and Professor of Fine Arts and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brandeis University, in conversation with Israeli-born Palestinian multi-media artist, director, and actor Raida Adon.

This program is presented by Studio Israel, an online conversation series that looks at Israeli culture and diversity through the lens of contemporary Israeli artists and creatives. Chaired by Caron Tabb. Studio Israel is a partnership among Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Jewish Arts Collaborative, the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, and the Vilna Shul, and is made possible by generous support from Combined Jewish Philanthropies. This event is also cosponsored by the Rose Art Museum, and is supported by the Essential Israel New Israel Fund for Artists. 

Sandra Seltzer Silberman HBI Conversations Series Launch Event Featuring Judy Bolton-Fasman, author of "Asylum, A Memoir of Family Secrets"

October 12, 2021

The Sandra Seltzer Silberman HBI Conversations Series

In Asylum, A Memoir of Family Secrets, Judy Bolton-Fasman explores her family’s secret and tumultuous past with warmth, passion, and subtle humor, firmly rooted in Jewish tradition. 

After complying with her father's request to burn a package of his still unread letters, Bolton-Fasman began to explore her bifurcated ancestry - a Sephardic, Spanish/Ladino-speaking culture inherited from her mother and an Ashkenazi, English-only, old-fashioned American patriotism from her father. While Asylum asks how much do we really know about the lives of our parents and the secrets lodged in their past, Bolton-Fasman shows that the answers may lie in the exploration itself.  

HBI is proud to have supported Bolton-Fasman’s research and writing during the early phases of her project.

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Henrietta Szold, Judah Magnes, and the “Hebrew Orient”: New Scholarship Concerning American Jewry and the Land of Israel, 1900-1948

October 12, 2021

Cosponsored with the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.
Narrating Belonging: The Art of Memory

October 5, 2021

HBI Project on Latin American Jewish and Gender Studies

Adriana Katzew, JARTS 2021 Community Creative Fellow and Dalia Wassner, Director of HBI Project on Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies discuss the power of material art in claiming and transmitting personal identity and group history.

Co-Sponsor: JARTS

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Switching Gender in the Torah: What We Reveal by Changing the Perspective

September 27, 2021

What if all the genders in the Torah were switched? Tamar Biala and Yael Kanarek discuss the HerTorah Project that gender bends the Torah to reveal the divine influence in women’s body language.

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Rediscovering the Lost Literature of Unconventional Jewish Women

May 13, 2021

HBI Seminar Series

Lori Harrison-Kahan, Boston College

Jessica Kirzane, University of Chicago

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Exploring Jewish Women’s Fiction as Mirrors into Jewish Women’s Lives

April 28, 2021

HBI Virtual Conversations

A discussion on Jewish women's writing with Dr. Nora Gold, award-winning author, editor of Jewish Fiction .net, and long-standing HBI Academic Advisory member. Dr. Gold was joined by Israeli author Nora Houri-Haim, and American author Diane Lederman who shared their work.

Co-sponsored by Jewish Fiction .net and the Consulates General of Israel to New England and to Toronto/Western Canada


The Crooked and the Straight: Queer Theory and Rabbinic Literature

April 26, 2021

HBI Seminar Series

Gwynn Kessler, Swarthmore College
HBI Spring 2021 Scholar in Residence

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Performing Disability in Israel

March 11th & April 22nd, 2021

A two-part series  held in conjunction with Professor Ilana Szobel’s course, Disability Cultures: Art, Film, and Literature of People with Disabilities — that explores real-life experiences and artistic performances of people living with disability in Israel. Artists, writers, and scholars will examine the intersection of disability with Zionist ideology, gender, race, and class.

Presented by the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University and cosponsored by the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute; the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies; the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy; and the Program in Health: Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP), all housed at Brandeis University. 

Indomitable Woman: Feminism in the Poetry of Rosita Kalina of Costa Rica

April 22, 2021

HBI Project on Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies

LAJGS welcomes Stephen A. Sadow, Professor Emeritus of Latin American Literature and Jewish Studies at Northeastern University, for a conversation about Costa Rican poet and writer of short-stories, Rosita Kalina (1934-2004).

Co-Sponsor: Brandeis Creative Writing Program

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"Hadassah: An American Story" with Hadassah Lieberman Moderated by Deborah Lipstadt, MA'72, PhD'76, H'19, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, Emory University

April 14, 2021

This program launched the book, "Hadassah: An American Story," by Hadassah Lieberman, published by Brandeis University Press in the HBI Series on Jewish Women. 
Sponsored by the Office of the President. 
Hadassah: An American Story

April 12, 2021

This program is a partnership between HBI and The Vilna Shul, Boston's Center for Jewish Culture with promotional support from the Jewish Women's Archive, The Holocaust Center LA, and the Illinois Holocaust Center and Museum.
Conceiving Motherhood: The Reception of Biblical Mothers in the Early Jewish Imagination

April 12, 2021

HBI Seminar Series

Sari Fein, Brandeis University
HBI Spring 2021 Scholar in Residence

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Studio Israel: Conversation Series

Studio Israel is a new series, chaired by Caron Tabb, that gives an insider’s view of Israeli society through an array of contemporary creative female voices of diverse Israeli backgrounds. Each one-hour conversation features art and expertise that shed light on important social, cultural, and political issues in Israel today. 

The series is a collaboration between the Hadassah-Brandeis InstituteJewish Arts Collaborative, and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. It is made possible with generous support from CJP Arts & Culture.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

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Thursday, December 10, 2020 
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Thursday, February 11, 2021 

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

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2021 Holocaust Remembrance Panel: Echoes and Reckonings

April 8, 2021

Presented by the WSRC Holocaust Research Study Group

Conceiving Agency: Reproductive Authority among Haredi Women

April 6, 2021

HBI Seminar Series

Michal Raucher, Rutgers University

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Taking Over the Crown: Camille Eskell’s “The Fez as Storyteller"

April 1, 2021

HBI Research Associate, Dr. Sivan Rajuan Shtang interviewed 2021 HBI artist Camille Eskell.

More information on the exhibition.

Co-sponsored with the Vilna Shul

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Virtual Artist Lecture: Camille Eskell | The Fez as Storyteller

March 24, 2021

HBI Artist Program

More information on the exhibition.

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Suffering, Stereotypes, and Psychosis: The Representation of Jewish Femininity in the CW Series "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

March 22, 2021

HBI Seminar Series

Samantha Pickette, Boston University

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The First American Jewish Novelist: Cora Wilburn

March 17, 2021

HBI Project on Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies

Professor Jonathan Sarna in conversation with Sephardic scholar Ronnie Perelis, on the well-traversed world of Sephardic America and its intersection with early U.S. Jewish History.

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America and the Crypto Jewish Presence: Reclaiming the Legacy of Sepharad

March 11, 2021

HBI Project on Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies

Ron Duncan Hart, anthropologist and author of Crypto-Jews: The Long Journey (2020), and Mary Morris, author of Gateway to the Moon (2018), will engage contemporary cultural and political ramifications of the historic crypto-Jewish presence in the Americas.

Co-sponsors: Brandeis Near Eastern & Judaic Studies, Hispanic Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies. J-Lats Princeton

This program is made possible with generous support from the Ostrowicz Lilienthal Foundation for Jewish Education.

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Four Mothers: Live Program

March 8, 2021

The Boston Jewish Film Festival

Join us for a live conversation with subject Rachel Madpis Ben Dor and moderated by Lisa Fishbayn Joffe.

Hidden Heretics: Jewish Doubt in the Digital Age

March 8, 2021

HBI Seminar Series

Ayala Fader, Fordham University

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From Miniskirt to Hijab: A Girl in Revolutionary Iran

March 3, 2021

A collaboration between the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University and The Alliance Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University

Jacqueline Saper and Farideh Goldin Discuss Memoirs of Iranian Jewish Girlhood

Watch a 9-minute highlight video

American Jewish Women Craft Resilience and Community: Making Meaning Through Everyday Action

February 25, 2021

HBI Virtual Conversations with Professor Jodi Eichler-Levine

In Painted Pomegranates and Needlepoint Rabbis: How Jews Craft Resilience and Create Community, Jodi Eichler-Levine, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish Civilization and Associate Professor of Religion Studies at Lehigh University, takes us inside a flourishing American Jewish crafting movement through her travels across the country to homes, craft conventions, synagogue knitting circles, and craftivist actions.

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The End of Iberian Jewry and The Beginnings of a Sephardi Diaspora: Through the Eyes of Women

February 22, 2021

HBI Project on Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies

A mediated conversation between Edith Scott Saavedra, author of The Lamps of Albarracín (2019), and Spanish historians Lucía Conte Aguilar and Miguel Angel Motis, as they discuss the feminist experience of the Inquisition and end of Iberian Jewry, as well as the revival of Spain’s Jewish heritage in the present day. 

Co-sponsors: Brandeis Near Eastern & Judaic Studies, Hispanic Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies, J-Lats Princeton

This program is made possible with generous support from the Ostrowicz Lilienthal Foundation for Jewish Education.

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Kugel and Frijoles: Latinx Jews in the United States

February 10, 2021

HBI Project on Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies

LAJGS in conversation with Laura Limonic on her award-winning book, Kugel and Frijoles (2019), which offers new insights into the diversity of Jews and Latino/as in the United States.

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Israel in the Spanish-speaking Media: The Case of Latina Entrepreneurship

February 4, 2021

LAJGS in conversation with Leah Soibel, Fuente Latina founder and CEO, and Susanne Althoff, journalist and author of Launching While Female (2020).

Co-sponsors: Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis International Business School (Asper Center, Latin American Initiative, Israel Initiative), Brandeis Journalism Program

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Finding Matilda: Uncovering the Life & Death of a Jewish Lithuanian Poet

January 27, 2021

In commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day, we co-sponsored a panel to discuss the search for a little-known Holocaust victim, Matilda Olkin, and her extended family who were killed in an isolated location in northern Lithuania in the beginning of Holocaust in 1941. The film, “Finding Matilda: The Anne Frank of Lithuania" by Kyle Conti, himself a college student, follows the search for the mass grave.
HBI Virtual Conversations with Rachel Biale, author of "Growing Up Below Sea Level: A Kibbutz Childhood"

January 27, 2021

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HBI Virtual Conversations with Anna Solomon, author of "The Book of V."

December 2, 2020

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Become a Gett Advocate

Gett advocates receive training to be able to to accompany women through the Jewish divorce process in the Boston Rabbinical court.

Presented by the Boston Agunah Taskforce

The World Split Open: Redefining Sexual Harm in Halakhah

November 18, 2020

Diane Markowicz Memorial Lecture

Rachel Adler
David Ellenson Professor of Modern Jewish Thought
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Los Angeles Campus

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Healing, Support & Commemoration: Reform Jewish Liturgy for HIV\AIDS

November 16, 2020

HBI Seminar Series

Elazar Ben-Lulu, The Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania & Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Discussant: Professor Shirley Idelson, director of Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program

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TLV TV Israeli TV Binge: Unchained - Live Q&A

November 15, 2020

Sponsored by the Boston Jewish Film Festival, the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies with cosponsorships from the following Brandeis University partners: Brandeis Alumni Association,  Hebrew Language and Literature Program, Hillel, and the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.
Unsung Heroines of the Holocaust: A Personal Reflection in Contemporary Times

October 26, 2020

HBI Seminar Series

Sarah Swartz, HBI Research Associate

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Braided Memories: A Journey of Words and Photographs

October 20, 2020

HBI Project on Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies

Poet and scholar Marjorie Agosín and photographer Samuel Shats explore the truth that lies in fragmented memories, the legacy of refugees defined by truncated pasts, and the power of art as a vehicle for healing across generations.

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Monologues from the Makom

October 19, 2020

A conversation and readings by editors and contributors: Rivka Cohen '17, Naima Hirsch (HBI Intern 2018), Alona Weimer '18, and Jordyn Kaufman, moderated by HBI Director Lisa Fishbayn Joffe.

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HBI Virtual Conversations with Marra B. Gad, author of "The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl"

October 14, 2020

HBI and Marra B. Gad discussed The Color of Love, Marra’s award-winning and compelling memoir about growing up as “a mixed-race, Jewish unicorn” and how she transcended intolerance, trauma, and racism through love.
Jewish Women Medical Practitioners in Europe Before, During and After the Holocaust

October 13, 2020

Launch Event for NASHIM Issue 36

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Wandering Jews and Latinx Migrations

October 8, 2020

HBI Project on Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies

During Sukkot and Latinx Heritage month, join HBI Project on Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies and Jewtina y Co., for a panel discussion on contemporary Jewish Latinx migration in the context of race, gender, and legality.

Co-Sponsored by Jewtina y Co., Brandeis Alumni Association, the Latin America Initiative, International Business School, Brandeis Latin American and Latino Studies Program, Brandeis Hispanic Studies, J-Lats Princeton

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The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season

September 23, 2020

For those seeking to connect more deeply with their Judaism, and for all those in search of a contemplative approach to these challenging times, poet and scholar Marcia Falk reads from and comments on her groundbreaking book, which re-creates prayers and rituals from a meditative, inclusive perspective.

To purchase a personally inscribed copy of the book please email Marcia Falk with "Purchase Days Between" in the subject line.

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Friendship, Kinship, Partnership: Women’s Networks as a Political Mechanism

September 21, 2020

HBI Seminar Series

Bat-Sheva Margalit Stern, Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies

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Femicide in Israel: A Pandemic during a Pandemic

September 14, 2020

HBI Seminar Series

Shalva Weil, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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Braided: A Journey of A Thousand Challahs

September 10, 2020

HBI Virtual Conversations with Beth Ricanati, MD.

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Shekhinah Speaks: Gender and Divinity

July 23, 2020

Joy Ladin

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HBI Virtual Conversations with Pamela Nadell

July 8, 2020

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Jewish Artist Experience: Lynne Avadenka

June 30, 2020

Artist Lynne Avadenka, 2019 HBI Research Award Recipient and 2008 Artist in Residence, explored her newest endeavor, an artistic investigation into Jewish women's involvement in early Hebrew printing. Lynne is an American artist/printmaker specializing in multimedia works influenced by the Jewish experience. She is known for her art that explores text and image, and the physical and philosophical idea of the book.

Co-Sponsored by the Vilna Shul
Masculinity, Race, and Jewish Stardom

June 25, 2020

Jonathan Branfman, Cornell University, 2020-2022: Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies

Summer 2020 HBI Scholar in Residence

HBI Conversations with Jennifer Cody Epstein, author of "Wunderland"

June 3, 2020

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Virtual Workshop: Exercises for the Quiet Eye with Annie Storr

May 27, 2020

WSRC Scholar, museum educator and art historian, Annie Storr leads a virtual workshop in reflective looking using imagery from the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute exhibition "Ich Bin Di Sitra Achra (I am the Other)" by Shterna Goldbloom.
A Look at Women's Letters in the Cairo Geniza

May 20, 2020

Renée Levine Melammed, Schechter Institute in Jerusalem

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Reading Glikl: Life Stories from the Pen of a 17th-Century Jewish Working Mother, a virtual learning series
May 5, 12, 19
HBI Conversations with Susan Solomont, author of "Lost and Found in Spain: Tales of an Ambassador’s Wife"

May 13, 2020

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HBI Conversations with Rachel Barenbaum, author of "A Bend in the Stars"

May 6, 2020

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Virtual Workshop: Self(ie) in Isolation

May 3, 2020

As part of the Create@Brandeis Living Room Fest, Shterna Goldbloom leads a workshop in fine-tuning your selfie techniques during these selfie-necessary times. Goldbloom will talk about her self-portraits from her current exhibition “Ich Bin Di Sitra Achra (I Am the Other)” at the Kniznick Gallery through the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Artist Program.
HBI Conversations with Goldie Goldbloom, author of "On Division"

April 22, 2020

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The Concubine in the Refrigerator: Objectifying Women in Comics and Scripture

March 30, 2020

Esther Brownsmith, Brandeis University

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Latina Jews Crafting Bridges

February 27, 2020

A conversation with Aileen Josephs ’86, Rosa Lowinger ’78 and Dalia Wassner as they engage the many ways Latina Jews are impacting America in the fields of law, architecture, art and academia. 

The event was co-sponsored by Brandeis Alumni Club of South Florida and HBI's Project on Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies.

Next Year in Argentina

February 12, 2020

A film screening of "Next Year in Argentina" followed by a panel discussion. The speakers examined Argentinian Jewry and the subject of return migration.
The Cultural Power of Religious Women

February 11, 2020

Karen Skinazi, University of Bristol

Skinazi discussed the ways that women have inspired change in Orthodox Judaism through creative and cultural channels, such as memoirs, novels, film, and social media, using Naomi Alderman’s novel Disobedience (2006) as a case study.

Holocaust Remembrance: "Only Someone Forgotten is Dead" Restoring Through Stories

February 6, 2020

The Holocaust Research Study Group presents lectures, readings, visual talks, and break-out sessions in a half-day Holocaust Remembrance event
A Suffrage and Citizenship Teach-In: 72 Years in 72 Minutes

January 30, 2020

It took 72 years for women to get the right to vote in the US. Come to this Teach-In to learn about the mobilization from 1848 at Seneca Falls to 1920 with passage of the 19th Constitutional Amendment. 

Co-sponsored by the Women's Studies Research CenterWomen's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Politics Department at Brandeis University

January 30, 2020

Thursday, January 30, 2020, 5:30-7 p.m.

Liberman-Miller Lecture Hall
Epstein Building, Brandeis University
Waltham, MA

A conversation about developments concerning Israeli women in Judaism, both Orthodox and secular, and how they have impacted similar issues in the US. Co-sponsored by the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and JFAB: Jewish Feminist Association of Brandeis.

"Flawless" at the Boston Jewish Film Festival

November 16, 2019

HBI proudly sponsored the film, “Flawless” at the Boston Jewish Film Festival on Nov. 9 and Nov. 16. “Flawless” is a 2018 Israeli film directed by Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon that tackles issues facing transgender youth and other marginalized communities in Israel. In this film, Eden, a trans high schooler, discovers that her two best — and only — friends are secretly planning to sell their kidneys to pay for cosmetic surgery and dresses for prom. Though dubious at first, Eden decides that joining them may be the answer to her prayers. But when their plans go awry, the girls are confronted by their own prejudices and find themselves on a journey of self-discovery, shaping these self-conscious high-schoolers into adults. “Flawless” was nominated for 12 Ophir Awards including the award for Best Picture. This was the first film in the history of Israeli cinema for which a transgender woman, Stav Strashko (Eden), was nominated for the Ophir Best Actress award.

Lunchtime Seminar: From Orthodox and Feminist to Orthodox Feminist: Kolech, JOFA, and Orthodox Feminist Activism in Israel and the US

November 13, 2019

Lunchtime Seminars: Ketubot as Enforceable Contracts under American Law: The Case of Charleston, South Carolina

November 6, 2019

She Can Do Anything: Jewish Life in the Post Soviet States

October 23, 2019

The groundbreaking work of Project Kesher and the gift of its archives to Brandeis University was celebrated. Brandeis’s Archives & Special Collections is home to significant holdings on Jewish feminism and the Project Kesher materials are an enriching and important addition to this repository.

Founder Sallie E. Gratch was joined by Project Kesher Ukraine Director Vlada Nedak to link the history to the present work and vision of the future. A panel of academic experts provided historical context and laid out pathways for future researchers using the Project Kesher archival collection now housed at Brandeis.

The Voices That Wouldn't Be Silenced

October 2, 2019

In the late 1800s and early 1900s in Russia, the only escape from pogroms for thousands of girls was the prospect of a job or marriage that would take them to “America.” Unfortunately, fleeing poverty and strife, an estimated 200,000 Jewish girls and women found themselves in the clutches of Zwi Migdal, a legal traffickers’ union that operated with impunity throughout South America for 70 years. Talia Carner, author of “The Third Daughter,” revealed how the cries of these women prompted her to expose a shameful chapter in Jewish history. She discussed actions that can be taken today to abolish human enslavement.

Lunchtime Seminar: Gender and Ethnicity in Mizrahi Feminist Contemporary Photography

September 25, 2019

Sivan Rajuan Shtang

Lunchtime Seminar: Women’s Midrash on Alternative Families

September 11, 2019

Tamar Biala

Knocking at Our Hearts

September 8, 2019

Mayyim Hayyim and Kavod (a lay-led Jewish community focused on social justice) presented the 5th annual High Holiday program: Knocking at Our Hearts. The event focused on preparing your whole self — body and soul — for the holidays with the power and joy of communal song. This year, our teacher was singer/composer/scholar, Galeet Dardashti, who offered two workshops focusing on Sephardi and Mizrahi music.

One Foot Planted

February 28–June 28, 2019

Hadassah-Brandeis Institute presented Ayelet Carmi and Meirav Heiman in “One Foot Planted.” Israeli artists Carmi and Heiman created ambitious video works that explored the impact that politics and conflict have on Israeli women in times of crisis. In their work, Israel is redefined as a mythical and post-apocalyptic world, which feminine and differently-abled bodies must ritually traverse through extreme physical acts. Both the ritual of processing the Israel Trail and counting the Omer become ungendered and labor-intensive sites of communication between bodies, land, machines, and the movement of time itself. In creating these spectacles and invented worlds, the artists’ combined interests in cinematography, live-action performance, group dynamics and mechanical inventions were all at play.

Words and Artifacts: Treasures of a Cuban Jewish Exile

April 10, 2019

This is event was part of the HBI Project on Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies. Ruth Behar, a Cuban-Jewish anthropologist and the first Latina MacArthur Fellow, showed how culture is both an artifact of history and a vehicle of ongoing memory. Included was a reading of her latest book of poetry, “Everything I Kept/Todo lo que Guardé,” discussed in combination with excerpts from her award-winning novel “Lucky Broken Girl,” documentary film Adio Kerida, and photojournalism in “An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba.”

Co-sponsored by Brandeis Alumni Association, the Brandeis International Business School, & Latin American & Latino Studies Program. This event was a part of the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts Program.

Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective: A Talk with Joy Ladin

February 7, 2019

Joy Ladin, the first openly transgender professor in an Orthodox institution, read from her new book, “The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah From a Transgender Perspective,” Brandeis University Press/HBI Series on Jewish Women. Ladin discussed the need for this trans perspective, as well as her process and journey. She is a professor of English at Stern College/Yeshiva University.

This event was a part of ’Deis Impact.

Co-Sponsored by Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Jewish Feminist Association of Brandeis, Keshet, Ruach HaYam, Jewish Women's Archive

Herstories: Changing Portrayals of Women in Jewish Literature

October 3–December 19, 2018

HBI presented a Me’ah Course taught by Professor Sylvia Barack Fishman.

Women and gender were spotlighted in Jewish literature from gripping biblical narratives through the latest exciting novels by American Jewish writers. This 10-week course examined texts in which women play major roles, exploring various subtexts, literary dimensions, and historical context. After an introductory conversation about stories in Genesis and the Book of Ruth, this interactive class read and discussed works including:

  • Yiddish writers Sholom Aleichem and I.B. Singer (in translation) Immigration authors Abraham Cahan and Anzia Yezierska

  • Classics of American Jewish women’s writing such as Tillie Olsen, Grace Paley, Cynthia Ozick, and Rebecca Goldstein

  • A selection of works by younger writers such as Allegra Goodman, Dara Horn, Nathan Englander, and Nicole Krauss

A Latin American Pen, A Global Memory: Imagining Anne Frank Today

November 1, 2018

The Fall 2018 LAJGS launch event featured a dramatic reading of Marjorie Agosín’s illustrated book “Anne: Imagining the Diary of Anne Frank,” which was accompanied by a multimedia presentation and a panel discussion about the ongoing relevance of Anne Frank in Latin America, a region that has struggled with authoritarian regimes and ongoing human rights abuses.


  • Dalia Wassner, PhD, HBI Project in Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies, Brandeis University

  • Marjorie Agosín, PhD, Professor of Spanish at Wellesley College

  • Francisca Yáñez, Chilean illustrator, graphic designer and visual artist

  • Nisha Sajnani, PhD, Director of Drama Therapy Program at New York University.

  • Sandra Mayo, Printmaker and mixed media artist.

Co-sponsored by JCC Greater Boston, Facing History & Ourselves, Hadassah Boston, Jewish Women’s Archive, Gann Academy, and Temple Beth Zion.

Israel’s Photoshop Law: The Idea, The Execution, and The Effect

October 25, 2018

HBI was proud to host Dr. Rachel Adatto, Former Member of Israeli Knesset. Adatto, an international expert on women’s health, spearheaded the Photoshop law in Knesset. This law banned the use of Photoshop to “remake” the images of models in advertising without disclaimers in Israel. There was a panel discussion about the effects of this law including Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, director of HBI and Shayna Weiss, associate director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.

Rachel Adatto, PhD, is a former Member of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), with an undergraduate degree in law, an MBA and MD from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is an expert in women’s health and served as the Chair of the National Council for Women’s Health; the senior advisor to the Minister of Health on women’s issues and on four U.N. committees dealing with women’s health.

Notably, she was the lead sponsor of the 2012 “Photoshop Law” that banned ads featuring underweight models. About the law, Adatto said, “Extremely thin models have become the ideal in the advertising world, which surrounds us all day long and tells us what to buy and what to do. They can no longer serve as role models for innocent youth that adopt and copy the illusion of thinness.”

Sexual Harassment: The Law, The Politics and The Movement

October 14, 2018

HBI was proud to host Catharine A. MacKinnon, the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan and James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School for our annual Diane Markowicz Lecture on Gender and Human Rights.

Long before the #MeToo movement, Professor MacKinnon pioneered the legal claim for sexual harassment and, with Andrea Dworkin, created ordinances recognizing pornography as a civil rights violation and proposed the Swedish model for abolishing prostitution. The Supreme Court of Canada has largely accepted her approaches to equality, pornography, and hate speech, which have been influential internationally as well.

Author of 13 scholarly books, Professor MacKinnon practices law, consults nationally and internationally on legislation, litigation, and activism, and works regularly with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), and The ERA Coalition. Serving as the first Special Gender Adviser to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (The Hague) from 2008 to 2012, she helped implement her concept “gender crime.” In 2014, she was awarded the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award by the Women’s Section of the American Association of Law Schools, and is an elected member of the American Law Institute (ALI).

The Markowicz Lecture Series is part of HBI’s project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law and was created by GCRL Founder Sylvia Neil and her husband Dan Fischel in memory of Sylvia’s late sister, Diane Markowicz, to honor her commitment to gender equality and social justice.

Watch the Lecture