About the AJA Fellowship Program
The Fellowship Program of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives was established in 1977 by our institution's founder, the late Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus. Since its inception, more than 500 scholars from over 20 countries have been named Marcus Center Fellows.
The Marcus Center's Fellowship Program was founded with the intent of creating a forum where students and scholars of the American Jewish experience could gather together to research, discuss, and study their chosen topics. Under the auspices of this unique program, scholars come to Cincinnati to conduct in-depth research at the American Jewish Archives and to take part in the academic community of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. The program provides fellows with an opportunity not only to pursue their own research, but also to interact and exchange ideas with research peers as well as with the faculty and students of HUC-JIR.
Today, The Marcus Center administers fifteen endowed fellowships, all funded by generous friends and supporters of the American Jewish Archives. Marcus Center fellows are teachers, students, scholars, and practitioners who, both individually and as a group, come to the American Jewish Archives to study some aspect of the American Jewish past. It is The Marcus Center's hope that this Fellowship Program will advance our understanding of American Jewish history and, simultaneously, of the American nation as a whole.
Call for Applications
The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives is pleased to invite applications to its annual Fellowship Program for the 2022-2023 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 supplement 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. Please note that former AJA fellows need only submit one letter of recommendation that speaks to the significance of their research project. For graduate and doctoral students, one of these two letters must be from their dissertation advisor.
Download a fellowship application or request to have one sent via postal mail. The submission deadline for applications is no later than February 18, 2022. All inquiries and application materials should be forwarded to:
Dr. Dana Herman
Director of the Fellowship Program
c/o The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
3101 Clifton Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45220-2408
Phone: (513) 487-3069
Fax: (513) 221-7812
Email: [email protected]
The Marcus Center Fellowships
The American Council for Judaism Fellowship at The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives was established in 2011 by the American Council for Judaism, Inc. (ACJ). The Council is a national organization that promotes the spiritual, intellectual and societal obligations of the Jewish religion, as well as the civic duties and responsibilities that are incumbent on all citizens of the United States.
The ACJ was formally established in 1943 by a group of Reform rabbis and lay leaders who were committed to the full integration and equality of peoples of all faiths and heritages in all lands; and preserving the ideals of Reform Judaism as articulated in the Pittsburgh Platform of 1885. Since its founding, the ACJ has been dedicated to the advancement of Judaism as a religion of universal and prophetic values, consonant with the ideals of a democratic society. The core belief of the Council is that we are Americans of the Jewish faith; America is our homeland and Judaism our religion. Israel represents the founding geographic location and historical context of our religion, not our homeland or political allegiance. The Council is committed to maintaining a diversity of expression within the Jewish community and that no group, organization or nation can speak for all Jews.
Over the years, the ACJ has consistently advocated on behalf of the ideals of the Classical Reform tradition in Judaism through the development of a religious school curriculum, an alternative Philanthropic Fund, use of the Union Prayer Book, and encouraging congregational worship for Classical Reform constituencies. The Council provided significant funding for the establishment of an independent Society for Classical Reform Judaism.
The American Council for Judaism Fellowship supports scholarly historical research in a wide variety of areas that relate to the organization's core interests: historical perspectives on the American Council for Judaism; the history of American Reform Judaism; the interrelationships and integration of Jewish ideals and a democratic society; the historical development of the concept of Americans of the Jewish faith and its coequal relationship with all faiths in America; and the historical study of Classical Reform Judaism. Above all, the ACJ Fellowship supports the work of scholars who are pursuing critical and scientific research that promises to deepen our understanding of the history and development of American Judaism and the American Jewish experience.
To donate to this very important fellowship fund, please contact Lisa B. Frankel, Director of Programs and Administration.
The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Fellowship was established through the generosity of Bernard and Audre Rapoport of Waco, Texas in 1979.
A graduate of the University of Texas, Bernard is the Chairman of the Board and the Chief Executive Officer for the American Income Life Insurance Company—a company which he joined in 1951 and has guided to unprecedented successes. Together with his wife Audre—also an alumna of the University of Texas—the Rapoports have devoted their lives to community service. Bernard has served as the Chairman of the Board of Regents of the University of Texas. He has been a member of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the Jerusalem Foundation, the United Cancer Foundation, the United Negro College Fund of Waco as well as numerous other organizations. Bernard has described his term as President and board of trustees member at Temple Rodef Sholom in Waco as one of his greatest honors. He has also served as a distinguished member of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and as a member of the Board of Overseers of the Cincinnati School of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Audre Rapoport has served as a dedicated member of the Temple Rodef Sholom Sisterhood for many years, working on committees for adult education, finance, and the religious school, among others. The couple's Rapoport Foundation is responsible for a multitude of community enhancement projects in the Waco area. Foundation funding enabled a faltering area elementary school to be transformed into the Rapoport Academy—which provides a top-rate education to the community's children. The Rapoport Foundation also provided funds to refurbish the Economics Building of the University of Texas.
Established by the Corets Family in loving memory of their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, the Bertha V. Corets Memorial Fellowship will enable students and scholars to spend one-month intensively researching the courageous actions of Mrs. Corets and the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights in their efforts to boycott American businesses—particularly retailers—that continued the importation and sale of goods from Nazi Germany before World War II.
Bertha V. Corets (1897-1973) was a wife, mother, businesswoman, store-owner and advocate for social justice. Her many accomplishments include working to ensure the rights of women to vote, helping found a synagogue in her home community, forming Bronx Post 64, Ladies Auxiliary of the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S., and tirelessly advocating for the rights of Jews at home and in Nazi Europe.
In early 1933, Bertha and her husband Mark (a veteran of World War I and soon to serve in the Navy in World War II) joined the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights. The League worked to identify goods made in Nazi Germany available for sale in American stores. Businesses that refused to stop selling these items, by League request, were then placed on a widely published boycott list. The list raised great awareness of the prevalence of Nazi-made goods for sale in the United States and had an impact on decreasing sales and imports of merchandise from Nazi Germany from the rise of Adolf Hitler until the U.S. entered World War II.
Mrs. Corets immediately served as Secretary of the League under Chairman Samuel Untermyer, the celebrated Jewish patriot who rose to prominence as leader in the campaign to defend Jews in Germany. She also served as Boycott Chairman for the Jewish War Veterans.
The purpose of the Corets Fellowship is to encourage research in this instrumental yet little-known effort and to highlight the courage and conviction of persons such as Bertha V. Corets, who faced personal danger in their work. Her extensive papers consist of her personal file of over 1,000 pages and publications recording the day-by-day activities of the boycott.
Following the war, Mrs. Corets' social work continued by helping raise money for hospitals and institutions in Israel, including service in the Women's Division of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) and the Israel Maritime League.
Today, the papers of Bertha V. Corets reside at the American Jewish Archives. The Bertha V. Corets Memorial Fellowship will allow students of the anti-Nazi movement, women's studies and related subjects to examine the Corets papers together with other related holdings in the collections of the AJA to learn not only about this remarkable woman, but study this important era in American history.
The Frankel Family Fellowship was established in 2001 by Penina Frankel and her children as a way to perpetuate the ideals and honor the memory of the late Naftali Frankel (1930–2001).
Naftali Frankel was born in 1930 in the Mea She’arim neighborhood of Jerusalem. When Naftali was just a few years old the family moved to Jaffa where his parents owned a small hotel and restaurant on the waterfront. In 1939, after their property was bombed and destroyed during an Arab uprising, the family immigrated to the United States. After settling in Chicago for a time, the family settled in Brooklyn where Naftali, his twin brother, Reuven, and his three sisters grew up.
Naftali was multi-talented. After graduating from the Juilliard School of Music and, later, Columbia University where he received his Ph.D., he became an accomplished musician, cantor, and composer. He spent many years as the director of music at Camp Ramah in the Poconos where he and his brother Reuven wrote the song “Bim Bam” -- one of their first Jewish compositions. At Camp Ramah, Naftali met his future wife Penina (a Cincinnatian) whom he married in 1951.
The couple moved to Cincinnati in 1953 where Naftali spent many years as a successful residential and commercial realtor. Music, however, remained his passion. He composed numerous pieces, which include a love poem to Penina for their wedding, a Friday evening Shabbat service, special psalms and blessings, concertos, and a full wedding suite and service for his son Steven and daughter-in-law, Lisa.
Naftali had a wonderful sense of humor. He was a loving, caring teacher and friend. A proponent for study and knowledge, this memorial fellowship honors Naftali Frankel and his lifetime of achievement.
The Herbert R. Bloch, Jr. Fellowship was created in 2010 by his wife and son in loving memory of their husband and father’s life and work in the business world, the Jewish community and as a patron of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Herbert R. Bloch, Jr. was born in Cincinnati on October 29, 1916, to Herbert and Jean (Kaufman) Bloch. After attending prep schools in Cincinnati and Watertown, Connecticut, Mr. Bloch graduated in 1939 from Yale University. Returning to Cincinnati, he immediately began working for Federated Department Stores (now Macy’s Inc.).
During World War II, Mr. Bloch interrupted his career at Federated to work for the Office of Price Administration in Washington, D.C., in 1941 before being drafted into the Quarter Master Corps and then serving in the U.S. Air Force as a First Lieutenant from 1942 to 1945.
Returning to business after the war, Mr. Bloch continued his rise through Federated, serving in several different positions at Shillito’s Department Store, eventually working his way up to Executive Vice President of the Federated chain. In 1973, he left Cincinnati to move to Los Angeles to take the same position at Bullock’s (now defunct), ultimately retiring from Federated in 1977 as Vice President.
Mr. Bloch was active in Jewish communal and philanthropic activities in Cincinnati and nationwide, fulfilling a mandate of service that was instilled in him as a child. His mother (herself a musician of note, both as performer and patron of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra) noted, “We had a philosophy in our home. If you have something to offer, you are accepted for what you have to give. My children grew up with the feeling you don’t just take, but you also have to give.”
Following in his father’s footsteps (who served as Chair of HUC-JIR’s Board of Governors from 1952 to 1957), Mr. Bloch served as Vice Chair, Secretary, and Chair of the Budget Committee of the HUC-JIR board from 1961 to 1986. He also served on numerous boards and commissions, including the Jewish Welfare Fund, Jewish Vocational Service, American Jewish Committee, the Foundation of Infantile Paralysis, the Jewish Federation, United Way, along with several youth related foundations.
Bloch married Jane Meinrath on September 18, 1946. They had one son, Peter, born in 1948. After a long and debilitating battle with polio, Mrs. Bloch passed away in 1967. He remarried in 1969 to Jean Rosenthal.
Herbert R. Bloch, Jr. died in Cincinnati on January 2, 2009, at the age of 92. He was survived by his wife, son, stepson, two stepdaughters, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
The Joseph and Eva R. Dave Fellowship was established in 2002 by Bernard and Jerome Dave in memory of their parents Joseph and Eva.
In 1907, Joseph Dave emigrated from Poland to the United States with his mother and sister. Philip Dave, Joseph's father, had arrived in America the year before and settled in Durham, North Carolina. In 1916 Joseph Dave graduated from Durham High School and entered Trinity College, now Duke University. After studying there for two years, Mr. Dave decided to enter the Co-op System in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Cincinnati. As a freshman there, Joseph Dave had the opportunity to meet and befriend Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus, founder of the American Jewish Archives. After his graduation in 1923, Mr. Dave moved to Asheville, North Carolina, where he worked as a sales manager for the Southern Steel and Cement Company and in 1929, he founded the Dave Steel Company.
Not only an astute businessman, Joseph Dave was also deeply invested in a number of civic organizations. He was instrumental in the construction of the Religious School for Asheville's Congregation Beth Ha Tephila where, in 1923, he worked to secure the services of Rabbi Sidney Unger to be the Temple's spiritual leader. Mr. Dave also became the first Jewish president of the Asheville Lion's Club in 1932, an organization in which he continued to be active throughout his life. During his residence in Cincinnati, Mr. Dave served on the Board of Trustees of Rockdale Temple, the Jewish Hospital, the Jewish Community Center, and Glen Manor. While living in Miami Beach, Florida, both Mr. and Mrs. Dave served on the board of the Greater Miami Jewish Home for the Aged.
Joseph and Eva Dave are survived by their two loving sons, Bernard and Jerome, and five grandchildren.
The Loewenstein-Wiener Fellowship in American Jewish Studies was created in 1976 from a generous bequest by Selma and Allen Berkman of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in memory of Mrs. Berkman's parents, Eli and Selma Loewenstein Wiener.
The Loewenstein branch of Mrs. Berkman's family arrived in New York from Germany in 1868—eventually relocating to Waco, Texas following a fire that destroyed the family's textile company. The Wiener family began its American journey when Mrs. Berkman's paternal grandfather, Samson Wiener, emigrated from Germany to Buffalo, New York in 1854. Samson then migrated to Mississippi where he fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.
Samson's two sons, Sam and Eli (Mrs. Berkman's father), went on to found the town—and the Jewish community—of Keltys, Texas. Later, Eli Wiener moved his family to Shreveport, Louisiana and then on to Dallas, Texas. In Shreveport and Dallas, Eli served as president of the local synagogues—B'nai Zion Temple in Shreveport and Temple Emanu-El in Dallas.
Selma Loewenstein Wiener was born in 1916. She married Allen Berkman (born in 1912), an attorney, in 1938. After moving to Pittsburgh, the Berkmans became involved in numerous Jewish and civic causes. Mrs. Berkman was a founder of the Jewish Archives of the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. She served on the local board of the National Council of Jewish Women and on the Temple Rodef Shalom Sisterhood board as both president and as a trustee.
Mr. Berkman, the recipient of numerous honors for his outstanding community work, served as president of Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh and is a Life Trustee of that congregation. He is a member of the National Board of Governors for the American Jewish Committee, and is on the Board of Directors of the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ). He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and is a member of the Board of Overseers for that school's Cincinnati campus.
Selma Berkman died on December 5, 1995, at the age of 79. Her husband, their five children and 15 grandchildren survive her.
The Marguerite R. Jacobs Memorial Fellowship in American Jewish History began in 1979 through the generosity of Julius Jacobs, of Jonesboro, Arkansas, who created the fund as a loving memorial to his wife.
Marguerite Jacobs, born in 1904, was a lifelong resident of Jonesboro. In fact her family, the Rosenfields, were Arkansas pioneers who helped found the city of Jonesboro. (Julius Jacobs, born in 1903, was originally from Nashville, Tennessee.)
In the early 1920s, Mrs. Jacobs helped save Jonesboro's Temple Israel from financial ruin by collecting dues, attending to business matters, and assisting in the financial growth of the Reform congregation. In later years, she served as both president and treasurer of the Temple sisterhood, and as superintendent of the religious school.
Julius Jacobs was elected president of Temple Israel in 1948 and held that position for a decade. Additionally, he was president and secretary of the local chapter of B'nai B'rith and chairman of the Jewish Cemetery in Jonesboro.
Marguerite Jacobs passed away on April 14, 1969. Julius Jacobs survived his wife by one year and died on October 26, 1970, at the age of 67.
The Natalie Feld Memorial Fellowship in American Jewish Studies was created in 2001 through a bequest stipulated in Ms. Feld's will.
Members of the Feld family have resided in the Cincinnati, Ohio area since the mid-nineteenth century. Natalie Feld was born in 1909 to Abraham and Katie Feld. Abraham Feld, whose father was one of the founding members of Cincinnati's Adath Israel Congregation, was a real estate investor and an entrepreneur who owned a furniture store in Cincinnati. Natalie, a gifted public speaker, chose education as a career path and became a high school mathematics teacher after earning two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree from the University of Cincinnati. She retired from teaching in the 1950s following the death of her mother. Later, Natalie herself entered the world of business and achieved a notable measure of success as both a business person and an investor.
Her public speaking skills allowed her to advocate eloquently for the causes she believed in most. She was an amateur photographer, a musician and an avid reader of great literature. A lifelong member of the Friends of the Public Library, Ms. Feld bequeathed $2.5 million to the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton Count—the largest bequest in the library's nearly 150-year history. She was also fascinated by history and genealogy, and became the official Feld family historian. She enjoyed communicating with her extended family by letter, writing long, descriptive missives about her trips throughout the world and the intriguing people she always seemed to meet along the way. She was also a supporter of the arts as evidenced by her tireless work on behalf of the Opera Guild and the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall in Cincinnati.
Natalie Feld passed away in 1999 at the age of 90.
The Rabbi Ferdinand Isserman Memorial Fellowship was created by his beloved wife, Ruth Isserman, and the Isserman family.
Ferdinand Isserman was born on March 4, 1898, in Antwerp, Belgium, and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1906. In 1914, he entered Hebrew Union College where, in conjunction with the University of Cincinnati, he studied for his bachelor's degree while training for the rabbinate. Upon ordination in June 1922, Isserman became Assistant Rabbi under Rev. Dr. Harry W. Ettelson at Rodeph Shalom Congregation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He remained in this position for three years, during which he studied at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a Master of Arts degree in Comparative Religion in 1924.
Isserman assumed the position of rabbi of the Toronto Hebrew Congregation ("Holy Blossom") in Canada in 1925. While in Toronto, he distinguished himself by arranging Canada's first pulpit exchange between a Christian minister and a Jewish rabbi. In 1929, he became rabbi of Temple Israel in St. Louis, Missouri, where he remained through 1963. Rabbi Isserman visited Nazi Germany three times in 1933, 1935 and 1937 and he spent the year of 1943 overseas with the American Red Cross during World War II.
He participated in many civic as well as Jewish-oriented organizations. From 1932 to 1963, he conducted weekly Jewish programs on local radio stations and held an annual Institute on Judaism for the Christian Clergy at Temple Israel from 1937 to 1962. Rabbi Isserman also served as president of the University of Missouri Jewish Student Foundation from 1940 to 1947 and as first president of the combined Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Alumni Association from 1950 to 1951. He chaired both the American Jewish Tercentenary Committee of St. Louis and the American Jewish Tercentenary Committee of Missouri in 1954, served as the American chairman of the World Union for Progressive Judaism from 1955 to 1956, and chaired the Thomas C. Hennings Jr. Memorial Committee in 1960.
Rabbi Isserman was very active with the Central Conference of American Rabbis, serving as chairman on the Commission on Justice and Peace from 1942 through 1945. In 1942, Isserman helped organize and presided over the Commission's American Institute on Judaism and A Just and Enduring Peace; in 1945, he organized the Commission's Institute on Judaism and Race Relations; and in 1950 he helped organize the CCAR's Institute on Reform Jewish Theology Today.
Rabbi Ferdinand Isserman died in March 1972.
The Rabbi Fredric A. Doppelt Fellowship was established by Congregation Achduth Vesholom of Fort Wayne, Indiana as a way to honor Rabbi Doppelt, their esteemed religious leader of 30 years.
Rabbi Fredric Doppelt was born in Sanok, Austria-Hungary, in 1906. He moved to the United States as a teenager and settled in the Chicago area. Rabbi Doppelt received his ordination from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati in 1931.
For 30 years, Rabbi Doppelt was the spiritual leader of Congregation Achduth Vesholom in Fort Wayne, Indiana. During his tenure, he distinguished himself as a gifted orator, teacher and scholar. Rabbi Doppelt's dedication to his family, his congregation and the community soon became legendary. His service on the Fort Wayne Interracial Committee, the USO (during the war years), the American Red Cross and as a board member of the Parkview Memorial and Lutheran Hospitals was deeply valued by the community he loved.
Nationally, Rabbi Doppelt served on the executive boards of the National Red Cross Campaign, the American Jewish Historical Society and the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He was also a member of the governing board of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion—through which he became involved with the American Jewish Archives and its founder, Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus.
Rabbi Doppelt also authored a number of books, including On the Eve of Chaos, published in 1941; and Dialogue With God, published in 1948. In 1957, he co-authored A Guide for Reform Jews with colleague David Polish. Rabbi Doppelt died in 1972 while attending the Jewish Historical Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. He was survived by his loving wife, Lucille, his daughter, and a granddaughter.
The Rabbi Harold D. Hahn Memorial Fellowship was created in 2001 by his widow, Nancy Hahn Klein, and her husband Jerry E. Klein of Cincinnati. The perpetual fellowship will enable scholars to conduct independent research in subject areas relating to the history of North American Jewry. Candidates will be Ph.D. and post-doctoral students, senior scholars and independent researchers.
Ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1955, Rabbi Harold D. Hahn served in the Air Force Chaplaincy stationed in Rabat, Morocco. Upon returning to the United States, he served congregations in Broomall, Pennsylvania; Detroit, Michigan and Norfolk, Virginia before coming to Cincinnati's Rockdale Temple. Rabbi Hahn's love of the College-Institute was a strong incentive for him to come to Cincinnati when he was offered the historic pulpit in 1969. He embraced the opportunity to serve on the HUC-JIR Admissions Committee, Board of Alumni Overseers and Board of Governors. He served as chairperson of the Student Affairs Committee, reflective of his earlier tenure as student body president in the 1950s.
When encouraged during the last days of his illness to express an unfulfilled wish, he asked that he be granted the honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree—due to be awarded by his beloved College-Institute in 1980—ahead of schedule. The degree was presented on Founders Day, 1978, in association with a tribute dinner sponsored by the congregation, and the gift of a family visit to Israel. Although in failing health, Harold was able to make the trip with Nancy and the children shortly before his death in May 1979.
The establishment of the Rabbi Harold D. Hahn Fellowship will perpetuate the loving legacy of a man whose passion for Jewish thought and knowledge was boundless.
The Rabbi Joachim Prinz Memorial Fellowship was established in 2001 by his son, Rabbi Jonathan Prinz, and the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation. The fellowship will enable the recipient to conduct an extensive study of the Dr. Joachim Prinz collection, given to The Marcus Center by his family, in preparation for a doctoral dissertation or other scholarly publication.
Rabbi Dr. Joachim Prinz (1902-1988), who served as President of the American Jewish Congress (AJC), was a gifted orator with a passion for racial and religious equality. Dr. Prinz was among the first to speak out against the rise of National Socialism in his native Germany and with the advent of the Hitler regime in 1933, he urged Jews to leave the country. Dr. Prinz was arrested several times during the rise of the Third Reich and was eventually expelled from Germany by the Gestapo in the summer of 1937. In the fall of 1939, at the recommendation of mentor and friend Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Dr. Prinz became the rabbi of Temple B'nai Abraham in Newark, New Jersey.
During his nearly 40-year tenure at Temple B'nai Abraham, Dr. Prinz, who also served as Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, attracted a great following, primarily because of his outspoken views on both Judaism and on the events of the day. He saw the issue of civil rights as one of tremendous importance and related the struggle of African Americans to that of Jews seeking to repel majority oppression.
The Rabbi Dr. Joachim Prinz collection at Cincinnati's Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives contains recordings, photos and other materials relating to the life and work of Dr. Prinz providing compelling insights into some of the 20th century's most defining moments.
The Rabbi Levi A. Olan Fellowship began in 1986 as a gift from Temple Emanu-El of Dallas to honor a beloved teacher and leader of the Dallas Jewish community.
Rabbi Levi A. Olan was born in 1903 in the Ukraine. Three years later his family was forced to flee the pogroms and immigrate to the U.S., eventually settling in Rochester, New York. In 1929, Olan received his rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. After serving as the spiritual leader of Congregation Emanuel in Worcester, Massachusetts for 20 years, Olan became the senior rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas. As he had done in Worcester, Rabbi Olan became deeply involved in the local community. His weekly radio program was renowned for the thought-provoking religious issues it raised—often tackling topics such as racial segregation and civil rights during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s.
Olan, who became president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis in 1968, was also a highly respected scholar. He was a visiting lecturer at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University as well as at the department of Religion at Texas Christian University. During his retirement, Rabbi Emeritus Olan was invited to lecture at the University of Texas, Emory University in Atlanta, the Institute of Religion in Houston, as well as at the Leo Baeck College in London, England. Rabbi Levi A. Olan died on October 17, 1984, at the age of 84. He was survived by Sarita, his wife of 53 years, and his three children: Elizabeth, Francis and David.
The Rabbi Theodore S. Levy Tribute Fellowship began in 1981 as a tribute to Rabbi Levy from his congregants at the Temple Society of Concord, in Syracuse, New York.
Rabbi Theodore Levy was born on April 16, 1926, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1945, his mentor, Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof of Pittsburgh's Rodef Shalom Temple, convinced a reluctant Levy to enter Hebrew Union College. At Hebrew Union College, Levy met Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus, who strongly encouraged Levy to complete his rabbinical studies.
Following ordination, Rabbi Levy went on to serve four congregations with great distinction—including the Temple Society of Concord in Syracuse. His exemplary spiritual leadership was characterized by powerful commitments to education, family, community and social justice. He established social action committees in his congregations and initiated many civil rights education programs. He also was a participant in the 1963 civil rights march led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, D.C.
Rabbi Levy and his wife Ina Rae spent the summers of 1952 and 1962 on archival expeditions with Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus. These expeditions enabled the American Jewish Archives to secure many important records which are now part of the AJA's permanent Burdman-Levy Archival Expedition Collection.
Together, Rabbi Levy and Ina Rae raised three children, Seth, Cynthia, and Jonathan.
The Sherry Levy-Reiner Fellowship was established in 2014 by Rabbi Fred N. Reiner and his son, Rabbi David Reiner.
Sherry Levy-Reiner was born in Chicago and received her PhD in English literature from the University of Cincinnati. While living in Washington, DC, she served as an editor and fundraiser for the Association of American Colleges, the Library of Congress, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. For several years, Sherry also worked as a volunteer for the Forum for Dialogue Among Nations, a group that works to improve Polish-Jewish understanding. Sherry was always interested in history, and she published a variety of articles on the topic. The field of history took on new importance after her retirement, when she spent many hours devoted to genealogy and searching for her family’s East European roots. She was also deeply committed to preserving history and finding the best home important records, letters, albums and historical collections that would be of interest to scholars and researchers. She worked closely with museums and archives so that these primary source materials would be properly preserved for future generations. Dr. Levy-Reiner died on May 17, 2013. The AJA is honored to endow this fellowship in her memory.
The Starkoff Fellowship in American Jewish Studies began in 1987 with a generous bequest from Florence and Bernard Starkoff of Boca Raton, Florida.
Bernard began his career in the 1940s as a congregational rabbi in Nashville, Tennessee. Eventually, Bernard left the rabbinate and the couple, along with their three children, returned "home" to Cleveland. They began work at Chemical Rubber Company (CRC), the chemical laboratory supply firm that Florence's father, Arthur Friedman, founded, owned and operated.
In the 1950s, CRC published a booklet of chemical tables to give to its customers. Today, the hardback version of The Handbook of Chemistry and Physics is one of the oldest continuously published reference books still in print. The publishing division of CRC ultimately became an independent business entity. In the late 1970s, the Starkoffs relocated both companies to Florida.
Throughout their lives, the Starkoffs have been generous supporters of many philanthropic organizations in South Florida. Mrs. Starkoff has served as a trustee of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Florida, the Palm Beach Council for the Arts, and the Mae Volen Senior Center. Mr. Starkoff has served on the boards of the South County United Way, the FAU foundation and the Kravis Performing Arts Center.
Established by the Roth Family in 2018, the Walter and Chaya H. Roth Fellowship aims to encourage and support research that illuminates the significance of American Jewish history, particularly in the areas of local and communal history, activism and leadership, immigration and refugees, World War II and the Holocaust, and Zionism and Israel.
Mr. Walter Roth (1929–2019), an accomplished attorney and historian, served as president of the Chicago Jewish Historical Society for over 30 years. He wrote four books on Chicago Jewish history – Looking Backward: True Stories from Chicago’s Jewish Past (2002), Avengers and Defenders: Glimpses of Chicago’s Jewish Past (2008), An Accidental Anarchist: How the Killing of a Humble Jewish Immigrant by Chicago’s Chief of Police Exposed the Conflict Between Law & Order and Civil Rights in Early 20th-Century America, with Joe Kraus (1998), and Everyday Heroic Lives: Portraits from Chicago’s Jewish Past (2016). Commenting on Mr. Roth’s work, Prof. Stephen J. Whitfield (Brandeis University) noted readers “don’t have to feel Chicago in their blood, or even to be Jewish, to find themselves enthralled by Walter Roth’s indispensable exploration of the intriguing role that one talented minority played… in the evolution of one of the world’s greatest cities.” Mr. Roth also published two books about his own family and immigration to the United States – Departure and Return: Trips to and Memories from Roth (2013) and Toni and Markus: From Village Life to Urban Stress (2014).
Mr. Roth immigrated to Chicago from the village of Roth, Germany with his family in 1938, just months before Kristallnacht. An immigrant family seeking to establish roots in the United States, the Roths witnessed and experienced both the opportunities and profound challenges faced by immigrant children, adults and families. A graduate of University of Illinois (Circle Campus) and the University of Chicago Law School, Mr. Roth served in many leadership roles in local Jewish organizations including the Midwest Chapter of the American Jewish Congress, Congregation Rodfei Zedek, Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School, and the Self-Help Home. He also harnessed his talent to document essential historical dimensions of Chicago Jewish history.
Dr. Chaya H. Roth (b. 1934) is a noted psychologist and writer. She is author of The Fate of Holocaust Memories: Transmission and Family Dialogues (2008) and, with Steven D. Kulb, The Multiple Facets of Therapeutic Transactions (1997). The late Sir Martin Gilbert called The Fate of Holocaust Memories “one of the most moving and important books on the Holocaust I have read.” A volume ten years in the making, this book both examines the role that memory plays in the transmission of Holocaust family history and tells a polyvocal story of Dr. Roth’s family’s survival during World War II and its aftermath.
Born in Berlin, Dr. Roth immigrated to Chicago in 1953 from Antwerp, Belgium. As a young child, together with her mother and her sister, she spent the war years in hiding and on the run. The family’s story of trauma and survival spans Germany, France, Italy, and Palestine. Against the backdrop of her personal history as a hidden child, including an apartment in Nice, a stone barn in the Italian Alps, and a convent in Rome, Dr. Roth’s published work reflects her dedication the preservation of history and memory as well as supporting the lives of children.