American Jewish Historical Society

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Awards and Fellowships

As part of its educational and promotional initiatives in the field of American Jewish history, the American Jewish Historical Society encourages interested students and scholars to apply for the following prizes and fellowships, awarded annually to outstanding students and scholars in the field of American Jewish history. The AJHS Academic Council is responsible for selecting grant recipients.

Ruth B. Fein Prize

The American Jewish Historical Society awards the Ruth B. Fein Prize, a travel stipend established in honor of a past president of the Society, to a graduate student to help undertake research at the American Jewish Historical Society. The award is up to $1,000. The deadline for submission is March 1, 2010. To apply, please send a 2-page description of your project, a letter of support from your graduate mentor and a budget for your travel expenses to

The Sid and Ruth Lapidus Fellowship

The Sid and Ruth Lapidus Fellowship supports one or more researcher(s) wishing to use the collections of the American Jewish Historical Society. Preference is given to researchers interested in 17th and 18th century American Jewish history. At the discretion of the awards committee, the fellowship funds may also be applied to subsidizing publication of a first book in the field of American Jewish history, again with preference given to works in early American Jewish history. The available amount for the award(s) is $6,000 annually. Submission date: March 1, 2010 for awards for 2010. Please send proposals of up to 5 pages to: Professor Stephan F. Brumberg, School of Education, Brooklyn College, CUNY, 2900 Bedford  Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11210; electronic submissions preferred at

Pokross/Curhan Family Fund Prize

The American Jewish Historical Society awards the Pokross/Curhan Family Fund Prize, a grant established in honor of two past presidents, David R. Pokross (1976-79) and Ronald C. Curhan (1990-93), to an undergraduate or graduate student pursuing an academic degree at an accredited academic institution to help undertake research using the collections held at AJHS/Boston, the Newton Centre home of the American Jewish Historical Society. The award in 2010 is $1,000. The deadline for submission is March 1, 2010. To apply, please send a 2-page description of your plan to produce an essay, thesis, dissertation, documentary, exhibition or other form of public program on an aspect of the American Jewish experience; and a letter of support from an undergraduate or graduate mentor to

Saul Viener Book Prize

The Saul Viener Prize ($1,000) is awarded biannually, with the current competition covering books published in 2009 and 2010. Only books that focus on the history of the Jews in America are considered. Works in literature, sociology, political science, and other fields do not qualify, nor do historical studies of Jews outside of the United States. In order to be considered, books have to be original work in English and not anthologies or other edited works. Books that were supported by or are projects of the AJHS are not eligible for consideration. The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2011. Books that fit these criteria should be referred to the committee. Please send author, title, publisher and publication date to

Naomi Wiener Cohen, Jews in Christian America: the Pursuit of Religious Equality (1991-92)

Deborah Dash Moore, To the Golden Cities: Pursuing the American Jewish Dream in Miami and L.A. (1993-94)

Ewa Morawska, Insecure Propserity: Small-Town Jews in Industrial America, 1890-1940 (1995-96)

Two books received the prize in 1997-98.

Jeffrey S. Gurock and Jacob J. Schacter, A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community : Mordecai M. Kaplan, Orthodoxy, and American Judaism (1997-98)

Daniel Soyer, Jewish Immigrant Associations and American Identity in New York, 1880-1939 (1997-98)

Jeffrey Shandler, While America Watches: Televising the Holocaust (1999-2000)

Gerald Sorin, Irving Howe: A Life of Passionate Dissent (2001-2002)

Two books received the prize in 2003-2004.

Deborah Dash Moore, G I Jews: How WWII Changed a Generation (2004)

Jonathan D. Sarna, American Judaisn: A History (2004)

For 2005-2006, two winners were selected:

Eric Goldstein, The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity (2005-2006);

Cheryl Lynn Greenberg, Troubling the Waters: Black-Jewish Relations in the American Century.(2005-2006)

Also recognized as "runner up" was:

Tony Michels, A Fire in Their Hearts: Yiddish Socialists in New York. (2005-2006)

Marjorie N. Feld, Lillian Wald: A Biography (2007-2008)

Wasserman Fellowship

This fellowship was created to reward an outstanding graduate student at Brandeis University in the field of American Jewish history who, during the year of the award, will work at the Society on projects which promote the Society's goals to disseminate information on the American Jewish experience. The fellowship is awarded by the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University, in consultation with the Society.

Leo Wasserman Student Essay Prize

The Leo Wasserman Student Essay Prize is for the best essay submitted by an undergraduate college or university student and includes a $100 award. Submit essays to
Submission date for the 2009-2010 academic year: June 1, 2010.

Eligibility and Submission of Essays:

Eligible submissions will be papers dealing with any aspect of the American Jewish experience, written by an undergraduate college or university student.  Papers submitted are to have been completed as a requirement in a college course.  They shall be no shorter than 15 pages in length and no longer than 50 pages; distilled versions of longer essays may be submitted in order to meet these length requirements.  Papers for the essay contest must be submitted for consideration during the academic year in which they were completed. 

Essays submitted should bear the name and institutional affiliation of the author, along with an indication of the course for which and the instructor for whom they were written.  The date of their composition also should be indicated, as well as information about how the author may be contacted.

Other Society-sponsored awards include:

Lee Max Friedman Award Medal

The Lee Max Friedman Award Medal was established in memory of a past Society president and is awarded by the American Jewish Historical Society to any individual, group or association deemed to have rendered distinguished service in the field of American Jewish history. Distinguished service includes special achievements in research, scientific or popular writing, teaching, encouragement and/or support of specific historical projects, or in the field of mass communication.

The following have received the Lee Max Friedman Award Medal.

Isidore S. Meyer* 1960 David R. Pokross 1980
Jacob R. Marcus* 1961 John L. Loeb, Jr. 1981
David de Sola Pool* 1962 Harry Starr* 1982
Salo W. Baron* 1963 Saul Viener 1983
Bertram W. Korn* 1964 Rosemary E. Krensky* 1984
Maurice Jacobs* 1966 Oscar Handlin 1985
Abram Kanof, MD* 1967 Hyman J. Cohen* 1992
Leon J. Obermayer* 1968 Bernard Wax 1992
Philip D. Sang 1970 Henry L. Feingold 1994
Abram V. Goodman 1974 Moses Rischin 1995
Oscar I. Janowsky* 1975 Arthur Goren 2000
Abraham J. Karp 1976 Jeffrey Gurock and
Marc Lee Raphael
Moshe Davis* 1977 Naomi W. Cohen 2004
Abram L. Sachar* 1978

Gerald Sorin

Malcolm H. Stern* 1979 Leo Hershkowitz 2008


Awards Sponsored By Other Organizations

American Jewish Archives Fellowship Programs

The Fellowship Programs of the American Jewish Archives currently offer six different programs to doctoral and post-doctoral researchers for one or two month stays at the Archives. For more information, write to the Director of the American Jewish Archives, 3101 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 54220, or email

The Marcus Center Fellowship Program

The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives is pleased to invite applications to its annual Fellowship Program for the 2009-2010 academic year. The Marcus Center's Fellowship Program provides recipients with month long fellowships for research and writing at The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, located on the Cincinnati campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Fellowship stipends will be sufficient to cover transportation and living expenses while in residence in Cincinnati.

Applicants for the Marcus Center Fellowship program must be conducting serious research in some area relating to the history of North American Jewry. Typically, Marcus Center Fellowships will be awarded to post-doctoral candidates, Ph.D. candidates who are completing dissertations, and senior or independent scholars.

Applicants must submit a fellowship application (see below) together with a five-page (maximum) research proposal that outlines the scope of their project and lists those collections at the American Jewish Archives that are crucial to their research. Applicants should also submit two letters of support, preferably from academic colleagues. For graduate and doctoral students, one of these two letters must be from their dissertation advisor.

You may download a fellowship application from the AJA's website:, or request to have one sent via postal mail.
The submission deadline for applications is March 18, 2009. All inquiries and application materials should be forwarded to:

Mr. Kevin Proffitt
The Director of the Fellowship Program
c/o The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
3101 Clifton Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45220 -2408

Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture

The Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture was founded in 1965 with reparation funds from the government of what was then West Germany. The mandate was the reconstruction of Jewish cultural life around the world after the Shoah. The mandate of the Foundation has since been revised to reflect these new emphases in the Foundation's work ? the development of the social capital of the Jewish people, its communal, cultural, and professional leadership, and the fostering of Jewish connectedness globally, including the propagation of the Hebrew language. Three fellowship programs are currently offered: 1) The Doctoral Scholarship Program helps train qualified individuals for careers in Jewish scholarship and research, and to help Jewish educational, religious, and communal workers obtain advanced training for leadership positions. 2) The International Fellowship in Jewish Studies and Jewish Culture assists well-qualified individuals in carrying out an independent scholarly, literary or art project, in a field of Jewish specialization, which makes a significant contribution to the understanding, preservation, enhancement or transmission of Jewish culture. 3) The International Community Service Scholarship Program assists well-qualified individuals to train for careers in the rabbinate, Jewish education, social work, and as religious functionaries in Diaspora Jewish communities in need of such personnel.

Visit for information and to apply.

Chicago Jewish Historical Society's Doris Minsky Memorial Fund Prize

The Doris Minsky Memorial Fund of the Chicago Jewish Historical Society seeks manuscripts in the field of Chicago Jewish history for periodic publication in its monograph series.

Guidelines for Submission:

  1. Anyone may submit a manuscript.
  2. The manuscript must deal with an aspect of Jewish history of the Chicago metropolitan area. It must be essentially a worthwhile contribution to the field.
  3. Manuscripts should normally be between 12,000 and 32,000 words in length (approximately 30 to 80 typewritten, double-spaced pages), although exceptions may be made in this regard.
  4. For annual deadline information, please contact the Chicago Jewish Historical Society.
  5. Manuscripts should be completed work, typed, double-spaced, and essentially ready for publication.
  6. The Chicago Jewish Historical Society committee of readers will be solely responsible for selecting the manuscript to be published.
  7. Resulting publications will be copyrighted by the Chicago Jewish Historical Society and distribution and sales governed by the CJHS. While no royalties can be paid for these researched contributions, the author of the selected manuscript will receive an award of $1,000.00. Publication and distribution costs will be assumed by the CJHS. The winning entrant(s) agree(s) to assign to the Chicago Jewish Historical Society all copyrights to the work.
  8. Manuscripts not published in a particular year may be resubmitted for later consideration.
  9. No manuscripts can be returned unless accompanied by a self-addressed envelope bearing sufficent postage.
  10. Individuals submitting manuscripts will be sent timely notification of the committee's decisions.
  11. Submit manuscripts to: Chicago Jewish Historical Society, Doris Minsky Memorial Fund, 618 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605.
  12. Questions may be addressed to the Chicago Jewish Historical Society in writing or by telephone at (312) 663-5634.

Summer Research Fellowship at the Feinstein Center, Temple University

The Feinstein Center, located on the campus of Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, is pleased to announce its annual summer fellowship--a grant of $2500--available to graduate students and untenured faculty members. Full details and specifications are available on the Feinstein Center web site.

National History Day Award

This $200.00 award encourages high-school students to study and write on aspects of American Jewish history, and is awarded yearly by the Society to the student whose work most merits commendation, as judged by the National History Day Awards Committee. Information regarding National History Day and the National History Day Award may be obtained by contacting National History Day at or through their website at

  • Publication Prize: The Center for American Jewish History, Temple University
  • The Center, in cooperation with the AmericanJ ewish Committee, invites submissions for the Center's Publication Prize. The prize is a $5,000.00 grant towards the cost of publication by a university press for a dissertation relating to American Jewish history from the Colonial period to the present. Special consideration will be given to topics bearing on the Jewish history of Philadelphia and its environs. Applicants must have completed their dissertation at a recognized university. For additional information contact The Center for American Jewish History, Temple University, 1616 Walnut Street, Suite 2106, Philadelphia, PA 19103.Tel. (215) 732-4000. Fax (215) 732-0963.

  • Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association
  • The Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association is awarding a $1,000 prize for the best student research paper in the field of Rhode Island Jewish history. Both undergraduate and graduate students are invited to participate in this new competition. Essays may deal with any facet ofthe history of Jews in Rhode Island, including religion, arts, humanities, social and naturalsciences.

    Essays should be approximately 20 to 40 pages (double-spaced), including endnotes to document primary and secondary sources. Ideally, the essays should make use of materials in the Association's archives and refer to articles in the Association's journal, The Notes. The winning essay will be published in The Notes, and its author will receive $1000.

    Each student is requested to submit two hard copies of his/her paper. There should be two copies of the title page. Only one copy, which is removable, should bear the author's name and university affiliation. Essays written since September 1, 2000 may be submitted.

    They should be submitted to the Student Research Competition,c/o Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association, 130 Sessions Street, Providence, RI 02906. Additional information can be obtained from the competition's coordinator, Dr. George M.Goodwin: telephone (401) 861-0636 or email

  • Southern Jewish Historical Society Publication Grant
  • The grant is awarded annually for completion of a project in Southern Jewish history and culture.The grant does not fund research, travel or writing but focuses on completion and publication of a project in its final stage. Contact the office for additional information.

    Amount of grant: $3,000 among one or several projects

    Grants Chairperson
    The Southern Jewish Historical Society
    P.O. Box 5024
    Atlanta, Georgia 30302-5024
    Sponsor: The Southern Jewish Historical Society

  • Southern Jewish Historical Society's Student Essay Contest
  • In addition to the above, the Sothern Jewish Historical Society sponsors an annual Student Essay Contest which awards $500 for the best paper dealing with Southern Jewry by a current graduate student, and $250 for the best paper by an undergraduate college student. Submissions should focus on a subject related to Southern Jewish history, use primary sources and appropriate documentation. Papers should be typed double-spaced. The submitter's name, address and academic affiliation (graduate or undergraduate) must appear only on the cover letter and not in the body of the paper. Inquiries should be directed to Essay Contest Chairperson at the address above.

    For more information contact the Southern Jewish Historical Society.



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    This section was last updated on September 17, 2014
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