The 2013-2014 Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship in Jewish Studies application is now closed.



‘The Most Musical Nation’ by James Loeffler, recipient of Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, 2003-2004. Yale University Press.

The FJC awards four to five Doctoral Dissertation fellowships per year to emerging scholars who are working in their last year of thesis writing within recognized fields associated with Jewish studies. The application deadline was Friday, December 14, 2012. Applicants should be completing an original, English-language (only) dissertation and be finished with all other requirements for their Ph.D.

The Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Fund for Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships in Jewish Studies encourages scholarly research, publication and teaching in the various disciplines of Jewish studies. Established in 1960, we have awarded fellowships to over 600 scholars, including many leaders in the field.

In previous years the Foundation has awarded fellowships of between $16,000 and $20,000 to Doctoral Dissertation fellows.

How to Apply



Applications for the 2013-2014 fellowship year are now available on online. Please visit the following to begin your application:

Detailed instructions on applications are available on the application website.

Note that applications were due by 5 PM EST on Friday, December 14, 2012. Applications are now closed.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the 2013-2014 application please email pzak [at] or grants [at]

To download the Funding Opportunities for Jewish Studies chart from our 2010 Doctoral Dissertation evaluation please click here. To download the entire evaluation, click here.


The Doctoral Dissertation grant is intended to help students in their last year of thesis writing only. Please note that we can no longer accept applications from students who have applied previously unless students petition on an individual basis for an exception and can provide sufficient evidence of their ability to complete their thesis during the fellowship year. All applicants will be expected to provide a sample chapter (or more) of their thesis as part of the process.

Applicants should:

  • Be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or Canada;
  • Have completed all academic requirements for the Ph.D., except dissertation, by the date of application;
  • Demonstrate significant course work in Jewish studies at the graduate level;
  • Provide evidence of proficiency in a Jewish language (i.e. Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, Aramaic, etc.);
  • Have a proposal or prospectus that has been approved by a thesis committee;
  • Complete online application in full. Partially completed applications cannot accepted. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that applications are complete by the deadline.

A strong preference is given to individuals preparing for academic careers in Jewish studies, and to those who indicate that they will pursue a career in the United States. Applications must be in English.

To enable recipients to devote themselves fully to completing the dissertation, it is expected that they will not hold a full-time job or equivalent academic workload during the fellowship year. We request that grantees inform us of any other fellowships or grants they may receive during their fellowship year.

Fellowships cannot be postponed or deferred to another year. Grantees who defer their awards will not receive special consideration upon reapplication.

Criteria for Selection

Each application is reviewed according to the following criteria:

  • Academic promise and ability of candidate as judged by previous performance and recommendations;
  • Potential of project to significantly impact understanding of Jewish life, culture or thought ;
  • Clarity, originality, breadth, and depth of the thesis proposal;
  • Qualifications and academic record of applicant’s advisors and references;
  • Likelihood that an applicant will go on to teach Jewish Studies at an American college or university.

About the Selection Committee

The 2012-2013 panel included a new co-chair, Dr. Beth Wenger, a leading historian of American Judaism (University of Pennsylvania), as well as last year’s co-chair, Dr. Ephraim Kanarfogel (Yeshiva University), Dr. Jay Berkovitz (U-Mass Amherst), Dr. Judith Hauptman (Jewish Theological Seminary), Dr. Ken Moss (Johns Hopkins University), and Dr. David Jacobson (Brown University).

The 2011-2012 panel included two co-chairs, Dr. David N. Myers (History, UCLA), who was returning for the second year, and Dr. Ephraim Kanarfogel (Rabbinics, medieval Jewish history, Yeshiva University), as well as five panelists: Dr. Lila Corwin Berman (American Jewish History, Temple University); Dr. David Engel (History, NYU); Dr. Talya Fishman (Religious studies, modern intellectual history, University of Pennsylvania); Dr. Judith Hauptman (Rabbinics, JTS); and Dr. Wendy Zierler (literature, HUC-NY). Dr. Hauptman served as a panelist for the Doctoral Dissertation grant back in the 1990s.

Meet the 2012-2013 Doctoral Dissertation Fellows Grantees

We are proud to announce the 2012-2013 Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Doctoral Dissertation Fellows:

1) Adi Mahalel (Columbia University, Yiddish Literature)
“The Birth of a Jewish Radical: Y.L. Peretz in the 1890′s”.

2) David Sclar (CUNY Graduate Center, History)
“He will Bloom like a Cedar in Lebanon: Controversy, Acceptance, and Printed Books in the Life and ‘After-Life’ of Moses Hayyim Luzzatto”

3) Yosefa Raz (University of California-Berkeley, Comparative Literature)
“The Weak Prophetic: Rereading Prophetic Failure in the Classical Hebrew Prophets and in its Reception in Modern Hebrew Poetry”

4) Jacob Labendz (Washington University, St Louis, History),
“Jews and the State in the Communist Czech Lands, (1945-1952) 1952-1989”

5) Debra Caplan (Harvard University, Yiddish and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations)
“Staging Jewish Modernism: The Vilna Troupe and the Rise of a Transnational Yiddish Art Theater Movement”

For more details about these projects and the 2012-13 Doctoral Dissertation fellowship please download the attached informational memo.

Program Funders

The Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Fund for Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships in Jewish Studies has received generous major support from The Dorot Foundation, The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, Association for American Jewish Studies, Robert S. Rifkind, E. Robert Goodkind, Linda and Shearn Platt, Kerri Steinberg, Arthur and Susie Goldner, Joan Schnitzer Levy, Louis Blumengarten, the American Academy for Jewish Research, and the Paul S. Nadler Family Charitable Trust.

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