Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Harris and Zelma Freedman Scholarship

Harris and Zelma Freedman Scholarship

The Harris and Zelma Freedman Scholarship awards students first, second, and third place prizes for the best academic paper written in the field of Jewish Studies.

Who is eligible to apply for the Jewish Studies Essay Contest?

Any full-time student who wrote a paper on a Jewish Studies topic during the past academic year (Fall 2021 – Spring 2022). Students of any class standing are eligible to apply.

You need not be a Jewish Studies student, nor does the paper have to have been written for a Jewish Studies class. The important factor is the topic. As long as you wrote a paper in the field of Jewish Studies, you can submit it for this contest.

If you have questions about whether or not your paper fits our eligibility requirements, please contact Professor Tobias Brinkmann.

How do I apply?

To apply, please submit

  • Your paper with a 1-page cover sheet. Essays must be submitted in the form of a Word Document with only a title.
  • Cover sheet should include the title of your paper, your name, and the course and professor it was submitted for. Please note whether you are pursuing a Jewish Studies major, minor, or certificate.

If you receive a Jewish Studies Essay Award, we will ask you to submit a short bio about yourself to be featured on our website. In addition, you will write a brief blogpost about your paper and research to publish on the website and social media.

Applications Due: April 15th, 2022.

Once you submit your application, your information will be emailed to the Jewish Studies committee for review. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Director of Jewish Studies Professor Tobias Brinkmann.

2022 Award Winners

1st Place

Masters Director's Fund Essay Prize Recipient:

“Unintended Consequences: The Alliance Israélite Universelle and French Education as a Source of Communal Tension in Colonial Jewish Tunis” by Casey Sennett

2nd Place

Masters Director's Fund Essay Prize Recipient:

“Winning the war of support at home: The evolution of printed propaganda during the Nazi Regime” by Terrance Jefferson

3rd Place

Harris and Zelma Freedman Scholarship Essay Prize Recipient:

“The Uprising that Did Not Happen: The Belzec Extermination Camp and Operation Reinhard” by Emma Wolfe

Additional Questions

Students are competing for one of three top places. First place receives an award of $500, second place receives an award of $300, and third place receives an award of $200.

Recipients will find out at the Jewish Studies Awards Ceremony at 5:30pm on Monday, April 25th, 2022. All applicants will be notified by the first week of May.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Interim Director of Jewish Studies Professor Tobias Brinkmann.

Previous Award Winners

1st Place
Master’s Director’s Fund Essay Prize Recipient:
“Resurgent Antisemitism: The Threat of Viktor Orban and His Political Arsenal” by Jacob Green


2nd Place
Master’s Director’s Fund Essay Prize Recipient:
“Ugly Jews in the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man” by Morgan Seiff


3rd Place
Harris and Zelma Freedman Scholarship Essay Prize Recipient:
“Solomon’s Temple: Historical Sources, Accuracy, and Reconstruction” by Dov Gordan