Researching Gender and Jewish Culture – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Researching Gender and Jewish Culture

Elizabeth Marder ’12 is spending her summer as an intern with Hadassah-Brandeis Institute in Boston.

Marder, a sociology major and peace studies minor, works alongside eight other interns at the prestigious institute, which began as a gateway to developing new insights into gender and Jewish culture through scholarly research. The institute seeks to deepen the knowledge concerning both women’s/gender studies and Judaic studies in order to broaden contemporary understandings of Jewish women’s lives, history, roles and experiences.

As an intern, Marder has the opportunity to work under a scholar within the particular field of gender and Judaic studies, as well as conduct an independent research project. Marder is working with visiting Professor of Sociology Debra Kaufman from Northeastern University on her current project, a book on post-holocaust narratives of American Jews and Israeli Jews.

“It is an honor and a great opportunity for me to work with scholars and professionals from a variety of backgrounds in research and Jewish studies. It is a topic that was new to me and now has become an important framework to how I see the world,” said Marder.

For her independent research project, Marder is performing an analysis of New York City agencies that assist orthodox Jewish women in obtaining divorce papers from their husbands. Within this particular culture, women are not able to file for divorce until they receive these documents from their husbands. 

“The internship has also helped me gain a great deal of growing expertise in research. It has also helped foster a strong connection with my Jewish identity,” said Marder.  

Marder, who is interested in pursuing higher education in sociology, has been a tutor for America Reads for two semesters, a mentor for Geneva Heroes and an active member of Community Council on the Hill since 2009. She participated in the study abroad program in India last fall. Marder is also taking Russian courses at HWS and learning Hebrew with the help of her parents.