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Academic Awards

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

The Fein & Lapidus Fellowships are intended to support substantive academic researchers utilizing the AJHS archival collections. The 2022 Fellowships have been awarded to: Cassandra Euphat Weston, Jacob Morrow-Spitzer, Mandy Forsman, and Natalia Shevin.


Fellowships may be awarded to graduate students pursuing dissertation research, recent PhDs, 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.

Funds may be used to:

Cover travel and living expenses required for conducting long-term research in our archives; 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. 

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 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.