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Awards & Scholarships


Genocide Studies Prize

The Maimonides Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies announces an annual Genocide Studies Prize for undergraduate and graduate research and/or creative work related to the understanding of genocide as defined by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and United Nations General Assembly Resolution 260. Relevant projects may come from any College, School, or Division of UCR and may consider genocide from the point of view of any discipline studied in the academy. Pending relevant and acceptable submissions as determined by the prize committee, an undergraduate and a graduate prize of $500 each will be awarded annually.

Submit entries by May 15th to Prof. Michael Alexander of the Religious Studies Department. 

Jewry and Innovation Research Grant

The Maimonides Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies at UCR announces the availability of research funds for the study of Jewry and Innovation. UCR undergraduate and graduate students may submit applications for funding of up to $3000. Relevant research projects may come from any College, School, or Division of UCR and may include innovation in the realm of any discipline studied in the academy. Research areas might include (but are not limited to) technological, scientific, medical, agricultural, economic, political, pedagogic, social, or cultural innovation. Students who intend to research at Jewish institutions (including but not limited to: museums; philanthropic organizations; community centers; synagogues; scientific organizations; hospitals and medical centers; research centers; government organizations; businesses and corporations; schools and universities) are particularly welcome. Awardees will be required to write a summary report of their research.

Study abroad and internships can be supplemented by this grant.

Please send a cover letter describing the applicant’s academic expertise and the specific plan of research, including a budget for the request. Applications may be made for future research or for research already completed in the current academic year. Decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year. Submit documents to Prof. Michael Alexander of the Religious Studies Department. 


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Some Areas of Jewry and Innovation


Crisis Management
Crisis Management. Dr. Iris Adler of IsraAid bringing expertise to Syrian refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos.


Environmental Studies
Environmental Studies. Sorek Desalination Plant, south of Tel Aviv.


Medicine. Functional neurosurgeon Dr. Brian Harris Kopell of Mount Sinai Hospital implants a cranial nerve stimulator for heart failure.


Public History
Public History. A curator knee-deep in the shoe exhibit of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.


Past Jewry and Innovation Awardees

Caroline Kim
Caroline Kim of UCR Bourns College of Engineering studied desalination techniques at Ben Gurion University of the Negev at the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research (2016). Her research involved using the Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation (QCM-D) to study the fundamental interactions between different elements of a microbial biofilm and chemical cleaning agents to understand the biofilm formation and its removal.


Jeremy Guida
Jeremy Guida of UCR College of Humanities and Social Sciences studied the legacy of underground newspapers on metaphysical religious practices. His research involved archival research of hundreds of countercultural newspapers and provided insight into the political, structural and social changes introduced by the counterculture. The Jewry and Innovation Grant allowed Guida to research Jewish involvement with countercultural religious innovations, such as the participation of Abbie Hoffman, Allen Ginsburg, Norman Mailer, Jerry Rubin, and others in the "Exorcism of the Pentagon," October of 1967.


JQ International
S.J. Crasnow received a Jewry and Innovation Research Grant to complete the dissertation "From the Gay Synagogue to the Queer Shtetl: Normativity, Innovation, and Utopian Imagining in the Lived Religion of LGBTQ Jews." It is an ethnographic study of contemporary trends in LGBTQ Jewry and Judaism, including pathbreaking discussions of innovative uses of traditional rituals, such as the use of the mikveh for transgender transitioning.


Remy Ilona, PhD candidate at UCR, received the Jewry and Innovation Award to study the formation of modern Jewish identity among Igbo Jews of Nigeria. A Jewish revival appeared during the Biafra period of Nigerian history. Ilona is currently investigating contemporary Igbo historiography, hermeneutics, ritual and liturgical innovation, as well as the relationship between Igbo Jewish identity and genocide. His working thesis understands the ethnic cleansing of Igbo that occurred during the suppression of the Biafra state (1967-1970) may have been inspired in part by antisemitic discourse introduced into Africa during World War II, thus making the ethnic cleansing of Igbo Jewry a continuation of the genocide of Jewry in Europe.