In 1999, the Network for Research in Jewish Education established an award for doctoral students in Jewish education or adjacent fields, designed to support their research and encourage their scholarly contributions to the field. In 2017, NRJE named the Award for our colleague Harold Wechsler z”l (1946-2017), professor of Jewish education and educational history at NYU, who had chaired the Emerging Scholar Award Committee.
The Harold Wechsler Award is intended to provide modest support to the most promising emerging scholars in the field. Doctoral students who have advanced to candidacy are eligible. The Awards Committee intends to distribute a total of $3000 each year to one or more recipients.
Applicants for the Wechsler Award should be current students in a doctoral program in Jewish Education or adjacent fields (Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, Philosophy, etc., or in a general Education program), and should have advanced to candidacy (i.e., should have an accepted dissertation proposal) by May 5, 2023. Once students have been awarded their doctorate, they are no longer eligible.
Funds may be used for research-related expenses such as books and publications, travel for scholarly purposes, transcription, research assistance, editorial assistance, clerical assistance, publication assistance, childcare, or equipment purchase. Funds may not be used for general living expenses. (In accordance with IRS regulations, recipients of the Award will be responsible for maintaining their own receipts to substantiate the use of funds in accordance with the permitted purposes, as listed above.) Note that the application does not ask for a detailed budget, nor for documentation of need, to make the application process as simple and straightforward as possible.
Applications are due May 5, 2023 via email directly to Candice Kiss at email@example.com, with a Subject line that includes the words “Wechsler Award application.” Applications should include the following three documents combined in one attachment (in PDF, DOC, or RTF). The filename of the attachment should take the form “lastname-firstname-Wechsler-application.”
- A brief cover letter that describes the trajectory of the project, your research progress to date, and the anticipated timeline to completion of the project. The cover letter should also include the name and contact information for one recommender, and explain your relationship to that person. Finally, the cover letter should also include the following affirmation: I understand and affirm that, if I receive funds from the Wechsler Award, I will use those funds for research-related expenses as described on the Wechsler Award website.
- A descriptive essay about your research project (1000 words maximum, not including bibliography). Please write an essay that is accessible to researchers from diverse disciplines and backgrounds. The essay should clearly explain the research question(s), the context for the research (including key points made in relevant literatures), the importance and potential impact of the research question on scholarly discourse and/or Jewish educational practice, the research methodology, and findings to the extent that they are anticipated or available.
- An updated CV.
In addition, please arrange with your recommender to submit a letter of recommendation by May 5, 2023 via email directly to Candice Kiss at firstname.lastname@example.org,, with a Subject line that includes the words “Wechsler Award recommendation.” The email should include the recommendation as an attachment (in PDF, DOC, or RTF). The filename of the attachment should take the form “applicantlastname-applicantfirstname-Wechsler-recommendation.”
The Awards Committee will acknowledge receipt of all applications and will request further information if necessary. The Harold Wechsler Award for Emerging Scholars will be announced at the 2023 meeting of the Network for Research in Jewish Education. The recipient(s) will be asked to discuss their research project at the conference.
Award-winning projects are ones that are expected to make significant advances in knowledge or in methodology that moves the field of scholarship in Jewish education and/or the field of practice of Jewish education forward. Projects are evaluated for internal coherence (between the research question and the chosen methods), potential impact, engagement with relevant literatures, and overall quality of exposition.
Questions? Read our FAQ’s which can be found here.
More Questions? Reach out to Jon A. Levisohn, Chair of the Awards Committee Email: levisohn at brandeis dot edu.
Past Award Recipients
|2001||Ofra Backenroth (JTS)|
|2002||Susie Tanchel (Brandeis) and Meredith Katz (TC)|
|2003||Miriam Heller Stern (Stanford), Ben Jacobs (TC), Barry Kislowicz (TC)|
|2004||Tracy Kaplowitz (Hebrew University)|
|2005||Beth Cousens (Brandeis) and Alan Selis (UMD)|
|2006||Tali Hyman (NYU)|
|2007||Michael Kay (NYU), Leslie Ginsparg (NYU), and Rebecca Shargel (JTS)|
|2008||Sivan Kroll-Zeldin Zakai (Stanford) and Zohar Rotem (The New School)|
|2009||Aliza Segal (Hebrew University)|
|2010||Orly Denman (NYU)|
|2011||Rafael Cashman (OISE, U of Toronto)|
|2012||Frayda Gonshor Cohen (Mills College) and Arielle Levites (NYU)|
|2013||Greg Beiles (OISE, U of Toronto) and Owen Gottlieb (NYU)|
|2015||Lauren Applebaum (JTS), Mijal Bitton (NYU), and Matt Williams (Stanford)|
|2016||Sarah Ossey (NYU) and Sara Smith (NYU)|
|2018||Daniel Olson (NYU) and Ilana Horwitz (Tulane)|
|2021||Talia Hurwich (NYU) and Josh Ladon (JTS)|
|2022||Esther Friedman (Hebrew University) and Rudy Kisler (McGill University)|
|2023||Saul Kaiserman (JTS) and Sarah Schwartzman (Colorado Boulder)|