Lisa Joffe

Lisa JoffeShulamit Reinharz Director of Hadassah-Brandeis Institute


Dr. Lisa Fishbayn Joffe is the Shulamit Reinharz Director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. She joined HBI in 2007 to set up the Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law which she continues to direct. She is an expert on women’s rights under Jewish family law and on the intersection between secular and religious family law. Her publications include Gender, Religion and Family Law: Theorizing Conflicts Between Women’s Rights and Cultural Traditions (2012); The Polygamy Question (2015); Women’s Rights and Religious Law, (2016) and a special issue of Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues on New Historical and Legal Perspectives on Jewish Divorce (Volume 31, 2017). She is editor of the Brandeis University Press Series on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law, Associate editor of the HBI Series on Jewish Women. She is a co-founder of the Boston Agunah Task Force, devoted to research, education and advocacy for women under Jewish family law. She holds three law degrees, from Osgoode Hall Law School and Harvard Law School, served as law clerk to Justice Iacobucci of the Supreme Court of Canada, and was called to the bar of the Law Society of Upper Canada. Before coming to Brandeis, she was lecturer in law at the Faculty of Laws, University College, London.

Selected Publications

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa. "Monogamy, Bigamy and Polygamy." Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception. DeGruyter, 2020 (forthcoming)

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa. "Gender and Jewish Law." Melila: The Manchester Journal of Jewish Studies (2019).

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa. "“You shall teach them thoroughly to your children”: Balancing individual autonomy and parental rights (Comment on Wisconsin v. Yoder)." Feminist Judgements: Rewritten Family Law Opinions. Ed. Ruth Rebouche ed.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa and Geraldine Gudefin, Invited submission to U.N. Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights,, Professor Karima Bennoune, for report on Women and Fundamentalism. The Migration of Religious Gender Norms into Secular Cultural Spaces: Ultra-Orthodox Judaism in Israel and the United States of America. Waltham HBI: 2017.

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa. New Historical and Socio-Legal Perspectives on Jewish Divorce. Issue 31, (guest editor) ed. Jerusalem: Indiana University Press, 2017.

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa and Fareda Banda. Women's Rights and Religious Law: Domestic and International Perspectives. London: Routledge Press, 2016.

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa and Janet Bennion. The Polygamy Question. Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 2016.

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa. "Negotiating Divorce at the Intersection of Jewish and Civil Law in North America,." Love, Marriage and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of the Gender Revolution. Ed. Sylvia Barack Fishman. Brandeis University Press, 2016

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa. "The Impact of Sharia and Foreign Law Bans On The Struggle For Women’s Equality Under Religious Law." Women's Rights and Religious Law: Domestic and International Perspectives. Ed. Lisa Fishbayn Joffe and Fareda Banda. London: Routledge, 2016

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa. "What’s the Harm in Polygamy? Multicultural Toleration and Women’s Experience of Plural Marriage." Journal of Law and Religion 31 (2016). 3 (2016): 336-353.

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa. "Finding a Seat on the Bus: Is Sex Segregation a “Harmful Cultural Practice ”under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women?,." Interrogating Harmful Cultural Practices: Gender, Culture and Coercion. Ed. Chia Longman and Tamsin Bradley. London: Zed Books, 2015

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa. "Gender , Jewish Law and Rabbinical Courts in Mandate Palestine." Gender in Judaism and Islam: Common Lives, Uncommon Heritage. Ed. Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet and Beth S. Wenger. New York: NYU Press, 2014

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa and Likhapha Mbatha,. "Recognition of Polygamous Marriages in the New South Africa." Gender, Religion and Family Law: Theorizing Conflicts between Women's Rights and Cultural Traditions. Ed. Lisa Fishbayn Joffe and Sylvia Neil. Waltham: Brandeis University Press, 2012

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa and Sylvia Neil. Gender, Religion and Family Law: Theorizing Conflicts Between Women's Rights and Cultural Traditions. Waltham: Brandeis University Press, 2012.

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa. "Gender, Colonialism and Family Law in Mandate Palestine, 2:1 101-127." Religion and Gender 2. 1 (2012): 101-127.

Fishbayn Joffe, Lisa. "Jewish Identity and the Jewish Free School Case." Modern Law Review (2012) 75. 5 (2012): 936-950.

Fishbayn , Lisa. "Gender, Multiculturalism and Dialogue: The Case of Jewish Divorce." CANADIAN JOURNAL OF LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE 21. 1 (2011): 71-129.

Fishbayn , Lisa. "“Not Quite One Sex or the Other”: Law and the Containment of Gender Trouble in the United Kingdom,." JOURNAL OF GENDER, SOCIAL POLICY AND THE LAW 13. 5 (2007): 413-430.

Fishbayn, Lisa, Gender and Human Rights in the Commonwealth. Culture, Gender and the Law: Recent Thinking and Practical Strategies. London Commonwealth Secretariat: 2004.