The Sylvia and Moshe Ettenberg Research Grant in Jewish Education


Isa Ettenberg Aron and David Ettenberg have instructed the NRJE to create and implement a research award with dedicated funds provided by their parents to realize their wishes to further Jewish education through research in the field. The committee that oversees the grant will have the discretion of awarding a number of smaller grants if the applications warrant it. The Sylvia Ettenberg Memorial fund will give the NRJE up to $20,000 per annum to cover the cost of the awards and their administration. The total amount to be awarded over the years will not exceed $200,000.

Who were Sylvia and Moshe Ettenberg?

Sylvia Ettenberg devoted her career to Jewish education within the Conservative Movement, serving as the Assistant Dean of the Teachers Institute and later as the Dean of Educational Development at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She was passionate about Jewish literacy and the Hebrew language in the formation of an American Jewish elite. This led her to play a key role in the creation of Camp Ramah, Prozdor, Leadership Training Institute, Mador, the Melton Institute, and the Joint Program of JTS with Columbia. Sylvia edited a book about Camp Ramah and was an avid reader of Jewish research in general and the Journal of Jewish Education in particular. She often voiced her disappointment with the dearth of scholarly research on a wide range of educational issues. This award honors her memory by contributing to the scholarly conversation about Jewish education in all of its manifestations.

Moshe (Morris) Ettenberg was the quintessentially Kaplanian Jew—living comfortably in two civilizations. As Morris, he was a Professor of Electrical Engineering at his beloved alma mater, the City College of New York, and a researcher at the Westinghouse Corporation. As Moshe, he was an avocational Jewish leader, who regularly served as shaliah tzibur at the synagogue at JTS and taught Talmud to his Hevre Shas, where his students included several prominent rabbis. Moshe credited a range of institutions for his rich Jewish education—at Brooklyn Talmud Torah, Camp Cejwin, the Teachers’ Institute at JTS, and several years’ living in Israel, including serving in the nascent Israeli Air Force during the War of Independence. This award honors his dual commitment to both research and a variety of forms of Jewish education.

The goal of the award is to make an impact on the field of Jewish education through the support of innovative and significant research and a significant contribution to the research literature in the field. The award may be used towards salary for the researcher, honoraria for outside scholars to advise on the project, for securing course release, or for project-related expenses. It may not be applied to institutional indirect costs. Applications for preliminary, intermediate, and final stages of a research project will be considered. The award is for one year only, and only current members of the NRJE can apply. This grant is for the 2019-2020 academic year and due by January 29, 2018.  The recipient of the award will be informed in April 2018. You can find the application here.

Mazal tov to the winners of the Sylvia and Moshe Ettenberg Research Awards for 2016-17 and 2017-18 are Ziva Reimer Hassenfeld (Brandeis University) and Sharon Avni (BMCC, CUNY).  You can read their abstracts here.