Conversations with Extraordinary Women

Marcia Falk

Marcia Falk, author of The Book of Blessings: New Jewish Prayers for Daily Life, The Sabbath, and the New Moom Festival (CCAR) and The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season (HBI Series on Jewish Women) speaks to HBI Director Lisa Fishbayn Joffe.

Tune in to hear the conversation. 

Co-sponsored with The Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program

Watch our Facebook Live video of Spiritual Sisters: A Poetry Reading by Lesléa Newman and Joy Ladin

Joy Ladin and Leslea Newman

Watch our Facebook Live Video of the German-Jewish Cookbook launch event!

German-Jewish Cookbook

Click here to purchase a book.

Tribute Video for Shula Reinharz's Retirement

On June 30, 2017, Shula Reinharz, HBI founding director, will retire. Watch her tribute video. 

Domestic Abuse and Jewish Law: The Interplay Between Social Justice and the Jewish Divorce Process

On February 2, 2017, HBI partnered with ORA and J-FAB in a panel that discussed the plight of agunot and the halachic prenup. Panelists included Rabbi Jeremy Stern Director of ORA, Rabbi Aryeh Klapper of the Boston Beit Din and Boston Agunah Taskforce,  Elizabeth Schön Vainer the Outreach and Program Director from Journey to Safety, at Boston's Jewish Family and Children's Service, and Rachel Light, a former agunah. The event was moderated by HBI's Lisa Fishbayn Joffe


Watch event in its entirety. Note: The stream will pause during Rachel Light's commentary, which we were not permitted to record, but will resume. 

Is Polygamy Good for Women? Religious Tolerance and Gender Equality

Panelists at the January 30, 2017 event included:

HBI Partners with JOFA for Free Webinar: Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families

How do young women and men feel about sex, love, and marriage? Who gets married and when? How do couples and individuals decide about children? What are the changing faces of modern Jewish families and what do diverse families mean for American Jewish life today?

On May 12, 2016,  JOFA and HBI partnered for a free webinar with Professor Sylvia Barack Fishmaneditor of Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution and Dr. Michelle Shain, author of the chapter "Dreams and Realities: American Jewish Young Adults' Decisions about Fertility." Amy Powell, communications director at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, moderated the discussion.

This is a co-production with: JOFA logo

52 nd  Annual Simon Rawidowicz Memorial Lecture

Reshaping the World: Interpretation, Renewal, and Feminist Approaches to Jewish Law. David Ellenson, Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and visiting professor in the Department of Near East and Judaic Studies holds lecture on November 3, 2015.

Body, Earth, and God: Celebrating Artist Helené Aylon

Aptly held at The Rose Art Museum, the HBI celebrated pioneering installation artist Helène Aylon. Aylon read a brief section from her pathbreaking memoir, "Whatever Is Contained Must Be Released: My Jewish Orthodox Girlhood, My Life as a Feminist Artist," accompanied by a retrospective slideshow and discussed of the intersection of Jewish identity and art. After her presentation, Aylon spoke with guests and signed copies of her book.

The Woes of WOW:  The Women of the Wall as a Metaphor for Israel-Diaspora Relations

This event explored the disturbing trend of making women increasingly invisible in public life in Israel. The evening began with the New England premiere of the Anat Zuria film Black Bus, which documents the rise of sex segregation in Orthodox life, and culminated with the 4th Annual Diane Markowicz Memorial Lecture on Gender and Human Rights. Noted legal historian Pnina Lahav traced the relationship between women's exclusion in religious and public spheres, both in Israel and in the Jewish diaspora.

Writing and Unholy Redemption: Acclaimed Israeli Author Michal Govrin

Michal Govrin, author of Hold On to the Sun, is one of Israel's most important writers. Selected in 2010 by the Salon du Livre of Paris as one of the most influential writers of the past thirty years, she has published ten works of poetry, fiction, and essays.

Today I am a Woman: Stories of Bat Mitzvah Around the World

These stories reveal how Judaism defines this important rite of passage in a girl's life in widely disparate settings. The contributions are from bat mitzvah girls of the past and present, their parents, communities, and religious leaders.

Architecture, Life, and Death: A Conversation with Architect Daniel Libeskind and Professor Shulamit Reinharz

The HBI Project on Families, Children, and the Holocaust planned an evening of discussion with world renowned architect Daniel Libeskind. Due to illness, Daniel could not attend, however his wife Nina Libeskind spoke in his honor. With over forty projects worldwide, Daniel Libeskind has designed the Jewish Museum Berlin and the master plan for the World Trade Center in New York.

Jessica Riva Cooper: Golem & Dybbuk

Jessica Riva Cooper's original, site-specific drawing and ceramics installation reinterpreted the folkloric stories of the Golem, a creature created to do a person's bidding without question, and the Dybbuk, a mischievous spirit, through a feminist lens.

Andi Arnovitz: Tear/Repair

Acclaimed Israeli artist Andi Arnovitz created a site-specific installation exhibition titled “Tear/Repair (kriah/ichooi),” including sketches for a new body of work–a series of paper coats for Jewish women who have impacted history and changed the world. These coats are an extension of Arnovitz's "Garments of Faith" series, which were also on view. Each of these garments, fabricated from torn or intact papers, scrolls, and book pages, represented injustices for Jewish women.

Creating Art, Promoting Change: Works by Jewish Women

The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute's exhibit, "Creating Art, Promoting Change," celebrated the artwork of Jewish women from around the world. The pieces in the show all presented a different perspective on global activism.

Is Pluralism an ideal or a compromise?

In 2008, Professor Martha Minow, Jeremiah Smith Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School gives the keynote lecture for Untying the Knots: Theorizing Conflicts between Gender Equality and Religious Laws. This international conference brought together theorists, policymakers and activists to discuss ways of conceptualizing and engaging with gender and culture/religion conflicts. Speakers discussed struggles in Canada, Iran, Israel, Senegal, South Africa, and the U.S.A.