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Upcoming Events

Diane Markowicz Memorial Lecture on Gender and Human Rights with Catharine MacKinnon

October 14, 2018, 4 p.m. , Brandeis University, Ruth Shapiro Theater, Shapiro Campus Center

 “Sexual Harassment: The Law, The Politics, and The Movement”

RSVP here

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

Nov. 1, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Riemer-Goldstein Theater, JCC Greater Boston 333 Nahanton St. Newton, MA 

The Fall 2018 launch event will feature a dramatic reading of Marjorie Agosín's illustrated book Anne: Imagining the Diary of Anne Frank, which will be accompanied by a multimedia presentation and a moderated conversation about the ongoing relevance of Anne Frank in Latin America. 

GCRL Lunchtime Seminars

The lectures meet on Mondays from noon to 1:30pm in the Liberman-Miller Lecture Hall at HBI. A kosher lunch will be provided. Click here for schedule.

Latest Publications


Time's UpHBI Blog: Fresh Ideas

Fighting the Same Fights as Our Feminist Mothers

Gender and Justice bookcoverGender and Justice in Family Law Disputes
A Season of Singing bookcoverA Season of Singing: Creating Feminist Jewish Music in the U.S.
A Season of Singing bookcoverGirls of Liberty: The Struggle for Suffrage in Mandatory Palestine
Jewish Families in Europe bookcoverJewish Families in Europe

 Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social RevolutionLove, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution

The Polygamy QuestionThe Polygamy Question

Joffe and Banda book coverWomen's Rights and Religious Law

Ornit RozinA Home for All Jews

The Strangers We BecameThe Strangers We Became

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

Inbar Raveh - Feminist Rereadings of Rabbic LiteratureFeminist Rereadings of Rabbinic Literature

Four Men and a Woman ebookFour Men and a Woman

Chana Maisel: Agricultural Training for WomenChana Maisel: Agricultural Training for Women

For the Love of the FatherFor the Love of the Father

The Audacity of HolinessThe Audacity of Holiness: Orthodox Women's Theater in Israel

KnishKnish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food


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The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute develops fresh ways of thinking about Jews and gender worldwide by producing and promoting scholarly research, artistic projects and public engagement.

The world's only academic center of its kind, the HBI provides research resources and programs for scholars, students and the public. The Institute publishes books and a journal, convenes international conferences and local programming, and offers competitive grant and internship programs.

We invite you to explore our website and experience the impact of the HBI.

Save the Date for Catharine MacKinnon

Catharine MacKinnon

HBI is 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, October 14, 2018. Her lecture is titled,  “Sexual Harassment: The Law, The Politics, and The Movement.”

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.
The lecture will be held at Brandeis University, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018 at 4 p.m. in the  Ruth Shapiro Theater in the Shapiro Campus Center followed by a reception in the Atrium. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP here.

Herstories: Changing Portrayals of Women in Jewish Literature

Painting by Sylvia Barack Fishman

Wednesdays, 7:30-9:30 PM
Class begins October 3
Liberman-Miller Lecture Hall
(No Class Oct. 10 or Nov. 21)

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

Women and gender are spotlighted in Jewish literature from gripping biblical narratives through the latest exciting novels by American Jewish writers. This 10-week course examines 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 will read and discuss 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

Click here to register.

For more information, click here.

Lisa Fishbayn Joffe Named Director of HBI

Lisa Fishbyn JoffeBrandeis University has appointed Lisa Fishbayn Joffe to serve as Shulamit Reinharz Director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (HBI), effective January 1, 2018. Joffe began work in the role with an interim appointment on July 1, 2017 upon the retirement of HBI founding director Shulamit Reinharz.

Formerly, Joffe was HBI’s associate director, and director of HBI’s Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law and of the Boston Agunah Task Force. In addition to serving as director of HBI, Joffe will teach “Gender, Multiculturalism and The Law,” cross-listed in the Philosophy and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies departments. Professor Sylvia Barack Fishman will continue to serve as Co-Director of HBI.

An article in Brandeis Now celebrated Joffe's appointment.

HBI Welcomes Spring Scholars

Roya Hakakian

Roya Hakakian

A writer and journalist, Roya Hakakian works in film and print. Her reportage has been featured on network television, including CBS 60 Minutes. Her opinions and essays have appeared in Time, The New York Times, and NPR’s Weekend Edition among others. Her poetry in Persian has been translated and appear in anthologies, including the PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature. Her memoir, Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran, was among Publisher's Weekly's best books and Elle Magazine's Best Nonfiction in 2004. She’s the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in nonfiction for her book, Assassins of the Turquoise Palace. Roya is a founding member of Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. While in residence at the HBI, Roya will work on the next installment of her memoir focused on her escape from Iran, her wanderings in Europe, and her eventual arrival at the American Embassy in Vienna where she sought asylum.

Tally Kritzman-Amir

Tally Kritzman-Amir

Tally Kritzman-Amir, Ph.D., is an expert in the field of refugee law and policy which she studies from an interdisciplinary approach that draws on sociology, philosophical theory, and international and comparative human rights law. She has been a Polonsky Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, and a Fox fellow at the Macmillan Center for International and Areal Studies at Yale. She is the editor of the book Where Levinski Meets Asmara: Asylum Seekers and Refugees In Israel - Social and Legal Aspects (Van Leer-HaKibbutz Hameuchad, 2015), the most comprehensive collection to date of articles on this topic. Tally currently heads a coalition of academics, NGOs, INGOs, and state officials on the rights of asylum seeking women and children. While at the HBI, Tally will continue her research on the gender-specific obstacles that confront asylum-seeking women in Israel.

Rivka Neriya-Ben Shahar

Rivka Neriya-Ben Shahar

Rivka Neriya-Ben Shahar, Ph.D., studies gender within the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Israel with an eye to determining the nature of religious women’s epistemology. She seeks to understand and interpret media that is directed to them by the religious press. Her work traverses the disciplines of media studies, anthropology and Jewish studies and she has presented her findings in numerous chapters, articles, and conferences. Rivka is a returning scholar to the HBI. Her project in the spring is to continue working on her book that looks at the complex relationship between women in religious communities and the modern world through a comparison of women from the Old Order Amish of rural Pennsylvania and Ashkenazi Ultra-Orthodox Jews living in Israel.

Shira Wolosky

Shira Wolosky

Shira Wolosky, Ph.D., is a full professor in the Department of Hebrew and American Literature at Hebrew University. She is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on American poetry and literature, and her monograph on 19th-century American women’s poetry in the Cambridge History of American Literature is regarded as a seminal work on the topic. Shira is now focused on American Jewish women’s literature, and has written several influential articles on Emma Lazarus and Penina Moise. Her analysis combines combines literature and history, but also political theory and discourses of ethnicity, multiculturalism, transnationalism, and “post-identity.”

While at the HBI, Shira will continue her work on American Jewish women’s writing to examine the ways in which people form selfhood through participation in more than one community, without dissolving all borders and definitions of self and community. Her focus will be on the work of Anzia Yezierska.

Meet the Students of HBI

Violet Fearon, HBI student bloggerThis year, HBI is thrilled to have a number of students working in various positions to help the Institute’s core mission of promoting research on the intersection between Jews and gender. The HBI students will be researching Jewish communities in Latin America, examining religious divorce in Boston, and blogging. Find out more about them on our blog.

Donors Support the Fund for the Future of the HBI Campaign

The HBI gratefully acknowledges and thanks the following leadership donors for their support of the Fund for the Future of the HBI Campaign. Their generosity gives HBI the resources to sustain success and grow in new ways.

Phyllis Hammer
Sylvia Neil
Laura Schor
Debs Weinberg

$75,000 - $99,999
Elaine Reuben

$25,000 - $74,999
Rita and Irwin Blitt
Leslie and Michael Gaffin
Shulamit and Jehuda Reinharz
Annie Sandler

$10,000 - $24,999
Suzanne Priebatsch
Diane Troderman
Arnee R. and  Walter A. Winshall
Jane Zolot

$1,000 - $9,999
Talia Carner
Tony Hananel
Liliane Targownik

*as of 6/23/17

View complete donor list.

HBI YouTube channel

Scholarly Research

Artist-in-Residence program

Gilda Slifka Internship Program

Visit our YouTube channel for additional videos on our HBI Conversations program and the Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law.