CJS Announces 2021 Friedman-Lowenthal Essay Prize in Jewish Studies Winners

Authored by: 
The Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies

The Friedman-Lowenthal Essay Prize is an annual essay contest that awards $500, or part thereof, to the student with a winning essay in the field of Jewish Studies. Essays are evaluated for academic excellence, writing style, persuasiveness, as well as originality of ideas.

The Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union is pleased to present the winners of this year's Friedman-Lowenthal Essay Prize in Jewish Studies, along with their outstanding essays. Congratulations to the following students:

Jonah Gelfand

Jonah is a second-year MA student in Jewish Studies with a concentration in Historical and Cultural Studies. His research interest is in the theology of early Hasidism and its use by the modern neo-Hasidic movement. Specifically, he is interested in studying the traditional Hasidic leader of the rebbe to answer the question of leadership in neo-Hasidism.

Read Jonah's essay "The Way Jews Live: Obligation in Arthur Green's Neo-Hasidism."

Mia Trachtenberg

Mia is a first-year MA student in Jewish Studies and Interreligious Chaplaincy. Through the lens of Judaism, Mia seeks to understand the ways in which narratives, particularly around God, shape our lives and the fabric of our built reality. She focuses on calling to attention the forgotten feminine force within Judaism, and thus questioning the basis of monotheism in its exclusion of women.

Read Mia's essay "Returning Her From Exile: Making Teshuva For the Hebrew Goddess."

Daniel Stein

Rabbi Daniel Z. Stein is the spiritual leader of Congregation B'nai Shalom in Walnut Creek and a doctoral student based in the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies, where he studies modern Jewish history. His research interests focus on questions of memory, trauma, and resilience in tbe Yizkor Bikher--the memorial volumes created by survivor communities after the Shoah.

Read Dan's essay "Redemptive Mourning: Sages’ Seder at Bnei Brak and the Productive Act of Memory."