AJHS Academic Awards
The American Jewish Historical Society encourages interested students and scholars to apply for the following prizes and fellowships. Please note that the AJHS Academic Council is responsible for all selections.
Fein & Lapidus Fellowship
Call for Applications, 2023
Goal: 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. 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, or to write for the AJHS website and/or blog to discuss their project.
Application: Send as an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Fellowship 2023 Application,” by Sunday, April 30th, 2023. The application should include the following materials:
- 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 email@example.com 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.
Saul Viener Book Prize
The Saul Viener Prize ($1,000) is awarded biannually, with the current competition covering books published in 2021 and 2022. Only books that focus on the history of the Jews in the Americas are considered. Interdisciplinary works that draw on methods from fields outside of history, including literature, sociology, political science, and other fields, will only be considered if they largely engage with historical questions about the nature of the past and its meaning. In order to be considered, books have to be an original work in English and not anthologies nor other edited works. The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2023. Author, title, publisher and publication date of books that fit these criteria should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org at which time we will provide mailing addresses for prize committee members to receive copies of the book.
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; 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.
Honorable Mentions from 2019 and 2021 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; Making Judaism Safe for America: World War I and the Origins of Religious Pluralism, by Jessica Cooperman; and 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 one of the four annual issues of our journal, American Jewish History (published quarterly). The 2022 Wasserman Prize winner is 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 past AJHS President, Lee Max Friedman. AJHS awards it 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 mass communication. It is awarded on a biennial basis.
We are pleased to announce that our 2022 award recipient is Dr. Beth Wenger, the Moritz and Josephine Berg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, School of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Wenger ranks among the leading historians of American Jewry in both the United States and Israel. Among her lengthy list of publications, Wenger has written such pathbreaking books as New York Jews and the Great Depression: Uncertain Promise; The Jewish Americans: Three Centuries of Jewish Voices in America; and History Lessons: The Creation of American Jewish Heritage.
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, Dr. Wenger has contributed to the vitality of AJHS, serving as the chair of its Academic Council from 2010-2014 and organizing two of its biennial conferences.
The Lee Max Friedman medal was presented to Wenger at the 2022 Biennial Scholars Conference at Tulane University on Sunday, May 15, 2022.