These publications are a result of GCRL research. Not included in the Brandeis Series on Gender, Culture, Religion, and the Law.

Womens Rights and Religious Law bookcover

"Women's Rights and Religious Law: Domestic and International Perspectives", Fareda Banda and Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, eds. (2016)

GCRL Polygamy Question bookcover

"The Polygamy Question", Janet Bennion and Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, eds. (2016)

Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues

NASHIM Number 31:
Spring–Fall 5777/2017

Ordering Information

Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law: Research

Current Research Project

Religious Divorce in Boston

Jewish Law requires that a husband consent to divorce but has mechanisms to dispense with the consent of wives.  Women who fail to receive a divorce suffer greater consequences, for any children they might have without having received a religious divorce from their first husband would have the status of mamzer under Jewish law and be unable to marry within the Jewish community. This inequality produces a power imbalance between spouses that can be exploited for financial advantage or to spitefully control the other spouse.  While there has been important research on the impact of withholding or refusal to grant a religious divorce on post-divorce arrangements in Israel (Halperin-Kaddari, 2013, 2018) there is a paucity of information about its impact in the United States. Using the Boston area as a model for a diverse and mobile Jewish community, this study investigates why and how Jewish couples choose religious divorce and what role the threat of get refusal may play in secular divorce negotiations. A second phase will explore the relationship between religious and civil divorce in the Boston Muslim community. This study is supported by a grant from the Brandeis Provost's Innovative Inquiry Fund.


Past Projects and Scholars