October 22, 2020

Welcoming a New Year from HBI

Shana Tova from Our Director

By Lisa Fishbayn Joffe

As we head into a new academic year and a new year on the Jewish calendar, HBI wishes you a year of good health, warm relationships and meaningful engagement with stimulating new ideas. 

Through these last difficult months, HBI has created new ways to connect and support scholarship at the intersection of Jewish Studies and Gender Studies by taking our programs online. We’ve hosted Virtual Conversations of novels and memoirs by Jewish women, opened our Institute Seminar to guests from all over the world, and hosted visiting scholars and research associates in our virtual institute.

When the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic made a residential program on the Brandeis campus impossible, HBI saw an opportunity to transform the Gilda Slifka Summer Internship Program  into a virtual experience. Students, faculty and staff worked to create a new model that allowed our student interns from Brandeis and across North America to learn about Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies, make important connections to our faculty, guest lecturers, and each other, and to produce excellent work. Here is what one of our interns said:

“I do not exaggerate when I say that this summer changed my life and completely transformed the ways that I relate to my Judaism. I know with certainty that my future as a Jewish woman would look very different had I not had the opportunity to meet so many incredible people and pursue such exciting opportunities through the HBI… From thinking critically about my relationship to traditional liturgy and ancient texts to engaging in dynamic conversations on Jewish history and the challenges that await modern Jewish feminists, I can clearly picture now what a Jewish feminist future could look like and what my role is in shaping it.”

We welcome you to join us and explore what new scholarship about Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies can mean in your life by registering for our exciting program of fall events.

Some highlights include:

HBI is proud to host a book launch of Monologues from the Makom: Intertwined Narratives of Sexuality, Gender, Body Image, and Jewish Identity (Ben Yehuda Press, 2020), featuring original work from young Orthodox women in the spirit of The Vagina Monologues, edited and written by a team which includes former HBI interns and students.

In the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, join us and poet and liturgist Marcia Falk, for a reading from her book The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season (HBI Series on Jewish Women for Brandeis University Press, 2014)

Be Well and Shana Tova v’Metukah.

Lisa Fishbayn Joffe is the Shulamit Reinharz Director of HBI. 


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