Lisa Fishbayn Joffe named interim director of Hadassah-Brandeis Institute

Lisa Fishbayn Joffe

Lisa Fishbayn Joffe

Brandeis University has appointed Lisa Fishbayn Joffe to serve as interim director of Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (HBI), effective July 1. Joffe will begin work in the role upon the retirement of HBI founding director Shulamit Reinharz.

Joffe is currently 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 interim 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.

Founded in 1997, HBI is a research institute at Brandeis with a mission to develop fresh ways of thinking about Jews and gender worldwide, by producing and promoting scholarly research, artistic projects and public engagement.

“I am thrilled that Lisa has agreed to serve in this position,” said Brandeis Provost Lisa M. Lynch, Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy. “Her background and scholarship is a perfect match for HBI’s international and interdisciplinary focus on Jewish women’s issues and gender issues in diverse contexts.” 

Phylllis Hammer, chair of HBI’s board of directors said, “With Lisa’s appointment, I know that HBI’s leadership will be in wonderful hands. Lisa is a rising star, and over the past 10 years we have watched her guide the HBI into new areas of inquiry with excellent scholarship and leadership.”

Joffe received her bachelor of laws from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and graduate degrees in law from Harvard Law School. Joffe joined HBI in 2007 and created the Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law (GCRL) project with founder and chair, Sylvia Neil.

“At HBI we seek to highlight the multicultural, multi-racial and economically diverse identities of Jewish women; to fully explore the experience of LGBTQ Jews and to engage in interreligious dialogue with women of other religious traditions around shared struggles,” said Joffe. “It is a great privilege to succeed Shula as director of HBI, who has been a mentor and friend since I arrived at HBI.  I look forward to building on the ebullient, entrepreneurial spirit Shula cultivated at HBI, and the institute will continue to be open to new ideas and collaborations.”

Joffe’s scholarship includes Gender, Religion and Family Law: Theorizing Conflicts Between Women’s Rights and Cultural Traditions (with Sylvia Neil, Brandeis University Press, 2012); The Polygamy Question (with Janet Bennion, Colorado University Press, 2015); Women’s Rights and Religious Law (with Fareda Banda, Routledge Press, 2016) and a special issue of Nashim on New Historical and Legal Perspectives on Jewish Divorce (Volume 31, forthcoming 2017). She is editor, with Sylvia Neil, of the Brandeis University Press Series on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law.  A more complete list of her publications is available here.

Categories: Humanities and Social Sciences, International Affairs

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