Academic Awards

Awards and Fellowships

The American Jewish Historical Society encourages interested students and scholars to apply for the following prizes and fellowships. The AJHS Academic Council is responsible for all selections.

Fein & Lapidus Fellowship

The Fein & Lapidus Fellowships are intended to support substantive academic research utilizing the archival collections held by the American Jewish Historical Society, at the Center for Jewish History in New York City.

2022 Fellowships have been awarded to: Cassandra Euphat Weston, Jacob Morrow-Spitzer, Mandy Forsman, and Natalia Shevin.

Eligibility: Fellowships may be awarded to graduate students pursuing dissertation research, recent recipients of the PhD, contingent faculty, and tenure-track faculty who do not have access to other research funds. The selection committee particularly encourages graduate students to apply and is open to all researchers who have reason to use the AJHS collections, whether or not their primary field of study is American Jewish history.

Use of Fellowship: Funds may be used to:

· Subvent travel and living expenses for research at the AJHS archive, housed at the Center for Jewish History (when the reading room is open to the public);

· Provide a living stipend to support significant remote research in digitized AJHS collections;

· Pay for the digitization of undigitized archival materials from the AJHS collection. 

Award Amounts and Terms: Fellowships up to $2500 will be granted to be used by May 2023. At the end of the fellowship period, recipients will be expected to submit a 500-word report. Additionally, grantees may be invited to participate in AJHS seminars or conferences to present their research.

Saul Viener Book Prize

*The 2023 Saul Viener Prize will be awarded to books published in 2021 & 2022. Please look for submission critera in January 2023.

The 2021 Saul Viener Book Prize was awarded to The American Jewish Philanthropic Complex: The History of a Multibillion- Dollar Institution, by Lila Corwin Berman.

2021 Honorable Mentions were awarded to: 

  • The Jews' Indian: Colonialism, Pluralism & Belonging in America, By David Koffman
  • Beyond the Synagogue: Jewish Nostalgia as Religious Practice, By Rachel Gross

The 2019 Saul Viener Book Prize was awarded to A Rosenberg By Any Other Name: A History of Jewish Name Changing in America, by Kirsten Fermaglich.

2019 Honorable Mentions were awarded to: 

  • Making Judaism Safe for America: World War I and the Origins of Religious Pluralism, By Jessica Cooperman
  • Cotton Capitalists: American Jewish Entrepreneurship in The Reconstructionist Era, By Michael Cohen

Wasserman Essay Prize

The Wasserman Essay Prize is awarded the best article published in a volume (4 issues) of the journal American Jewish History

The 2022 Wasserman Prize was awarded to Britt P. Tevis for her 2021 article, "Trends in the Study of Antisemitism in United States History."

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 Friedman Medal is awarded biennially. 

The American Jewish Historical Society is pleased to award its 2022 Lee Max Friedman medal to Beth Wenger, Moritz and Josephine Berg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, School of Arts and Sciences. The Friedman Award, established in memory of a past AJHS president, biennially recognizes a scholar of American Jewish studies for excellence in research and teaching and service to the field. 

Wenger ranks among the leading historians of American Jews in the United States and Israel, and is one of the most distinguished scholars of her generation. Her outstanding scholarship is matched by her leadership in several influential initiatives designed to disseminate knowledge of American Jewish history to a broad public, including books, films, and the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History. Among her lengthy list of publications, Wenger has written pathbreaking books, including New York Jews and the Great Depression: Uncertain PromiseThe Jewish Americans: Three Centuries of Jewish Voices in America; and History Lessons: The Creation of American Jewish Heritage. Additionally, Wenger has displayed an almost peerless commitment to building and diversifying the field of American Jewish history. She developed thematic fellowship years at Penn's Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies and at the University of Michigan's Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies and has served as the chair of the Center for Jewish History's Academic Advisory Council. Finally, Wenger has contributed to the vitality of the AJHS, serving as the chair of its Academic Council from 2010-2014 and organizing two of its biennial conferences. 

The Lee Max Friedman medal will be presented to Wenger at the 2022 Biennial Scholars Conference at Tulane University on Sunday, May 15, 2022.