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

2021 Call for Applications

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.

Eligibility: Fellowships may be awarded to graduate students pursuing dissertation research, postdocs, 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, whether their primary field of study is American Jewish history or not, who have reason to use AJHS collections.

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 summer compensation for 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. Due to the pandemic, the AJHS has extended the period by which fellowship funds must be used until September 2022. 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.

Application: Send as an email to info@ajhs.org with the subject line: "Fellowship 2021 Application," by April 30, 2021.

· A two- to three-page description of the project that includes specific references to relevant archival collections at AJHS that will be consulted. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with the AJHS collections staff in advance of submitting an application. Please contact Melanie Meyers at mmeyers@ajhs.org with questions about materials.

· A CV.

· A budget of no more than one page that may include, among other line items, travel and housing expenses, daily per diem (capped at $100/day), digitization fees, and technology costs.

· Graduate student applicants are required to include name and contact information for primary dissertation advisor, who will be contacted to fill out a brief form attesting to student’s plan and progress.

*The 2019 Ruth B. Fein prize was awarded to Amy Fedeski for her project, “Quiet Activism: The American Jewish NGO Reaction to the 1953 Doctors’ Plot.” 

*The 2019 Sid and Ruth Lapidus Fellowship was awarded to three scholars.

  • Dr. Melissa Klapper, for her project “At Home in the World: American Jewish Women Abroad, 1865-1940.”
  • Laura Michel for her project, “Benevolent Republicans: Philanthropy, Identity, and Foreign Relations in the Early United States.”
  • Connor Kenaston for his project, “Broadcasting the Gospel of Tolerance: Liberal Religion, Media, and Capitalism in Twentieth-Century America.” 

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 (1976-1979) and Ronald C. Curhan (1990-1993), to an undergraduate or graduate student pursuing an academic degree at an accredited academic institution to help undertake research using the collections held at

American Jewish Historical Society
New England Archives
99-101 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116.

The award is $1,000. The deadline for submission is coming soon.

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 jhcreference@nehgs.org. (Please Note: AJHS in New York is not associated with this prize.)


Saul Viener Book Prize

AJHS is now accepting entries for the 2021 Saul Viener Book Prize.  Books published in 2019 and 2020 are eligible. To be considered please send three copies of your book postmarked by March 1st, 2021 to: AJHS, Attn: Saul Viener Book Entry, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011.

Criteria: Only books that focus on the history and experience of Jews in the Americas are considered.  In order to be considered, books have to be original work in English and not anthologies or other edited works. Books that were substantially supported by or are projects of the AJHS are not eligible for consideration.

A prise of $1,000 will be awarded to the winner.

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


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. In 2020 The Friedman Medal was awarded to Riv Ellen Prell