Sidney and Hadassah Musher Subvention Grant for First Book in Jewish Studies

Baruch Spinoza

Congratulations to Daniel Schwartz of George Washington University, winner of the 2010 Sidney and Hadassah Musher Subvention Grant to support the publication of his forthcoming book, From Heretic to Hero: Spinoza in the Modern Jewish Imagination (Princeton University Press).

Dr. Schwartz was also a recipient of a Doctoral Dissertation fellowship in Jewish studies (2003-2004).

In making its recommendation, the FJC scholarship cited the importance and originality of Dr. Schwartz’s book, noting that it is likely to become one of the most important books published in Jewish studies in the past decade.

Furthermore, the committee writes:

Daniel Schwartz’s book is a path-breaking study of the multiple and important ways in which a great Jewish hero (or anti-hero) has been understood in modern Jewish culture.  The figure at the heart of the study is Baruch Spinoza, the Dutch Jewish philosopher who was excommunicated from the Amsterdam Jewish community in 1656.

Schwartz presents an illuminating history of Spinoza’s remarkable afterlife in modern Jewish thought, literature, and culture. He traces Spinoza’s surprising and powerful presence in German-Jewish fiction, Zionist ideology, and Yiddish letters, among other sites.  The result is a tour of many of the major centers of modern Jewish culture, seen through the prism of the appropriation and constant re-branding of a major, iconoclastic cultural creator.

The prize will be offered next in 2012.


The Foundation for Jewish Culture is pleased to announce its new subvention grant for the publication of outstanding first book in Jewish studies. The Sidney and Hadassah Musher Subvention Grant in Jewish studies replaces the Sidney and Hadassah Musher Publication Prize, which since 1992 provided grant money toward the publication of a Ph.D. dissertation relating to Jewish life in Israel or America from 1880 to the present.

The Foundation awards a single $3,000 grant on a biannual basis to support the publication of an outstanding first book project by a recent Ph.D. (Applicants must have completed their Ph.D.s within six years of application.) The prize recognizes the originality, scope, and scholarly rigor of any first book published within approved categories related to Jewish studies (please see application for full details).

The grant may be used to offset costs associated with: copy-editing; preparation of an index; permissions for photographs, artwork, and the like; color reproductions; preparation of graphs and maps; and publication subventions. Ineligible expenses include computer and other equipment, or income replacement for sabbaticals. The grant is intended as a subvention to aid scholars undertaking an original, first-time, book-length work in Jewish studies. Unfortunately, no anthologies, chapters, essays, edited collections, etc., can be considered for this grant.


Please note that no exceptions can be made to grant requirements.

  • The Sidney and Hadassah Musher Subvention Grant is limited to applicants completing a first book in Jewish studies.
  • Applicants must have completed their Ph.D.s within six (6) years of the final deadline for applications.
  • Applicants must be United States citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

Applicants without book contracts will be considered. This is a change from previous years. However, please note that grants are given directly to publishers; therefore, the grantee cannot claim monies until the book contract is in place.


The grant is awarded based on evaluations by two outside reviewers who are experts in the applicant’s area(s) of specialization, and by recommendations from a final review panel comprised of the Foundation’s academic advisory committee. Books will be evaluated for originality, scope, scholarly rigor, and their potential to significantly impact understanding of Jewish life, culture or thought.

Procedure & Deadlines

Three (3) copies of the following materials should be delivered to the Foundation:

  • First and last chapter of the book manuscript
  • Dissertation abstract
  • Letter of intent from publisher (if available)
  • Academic resume
  • Reader reports (other than dissertation advisor)

Applications can be sent by mail, courier services, or delivered by hand to the Foundation for Jewish Culture. We regret that we cannot accept email- or Internet-based submissions.


The deadline for the 2012 prize will be announced in fall 2012. Click here to download the 2010 Guidelines and Application.

Previous Grantees

2009 grantee: James Loeffler’s The Most Musical Nation: Jews, Culture and Nationalism in the Late Russian Empire (Yale University Press, Fall 2009) explores Jewish participation in the making of Russian art music, and its impact on the evolution of modern Jewish consciousness. The book is based on extensive archival research and a thorough understanding of the Russian music scene in the late imperial period. Both Foundation evaluators noted the work’s deep scholarly rigor and its wider importance to the field of Jewish studies.

2009 finalist: Mara Benjamin’s Rozenweig’s Bible: Reinventing Scripture for Jewish Modernity (Cambridge University Press, March 2009) analyzes Rosenzweig’s contribution to the understanding of what scripture is, how it could function in the modern period, and why it should matters to Jewish and Christian religious communities.

For a complete list of past grantees, click here.

For further information please contact us at

Program Funder

The Sidney and Hadassah Musher Subvention Prize is supported through a generous gift from Dr. Daniel Musher.

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