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American Jewish University names recipient of ‘Word 2024: Bruce Geller Memorial Prize’

The winner is Jake Marmer, head of school at the Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton, Mass.

Jake Marmer. Credit: Courtesy of American Jewish University.
Jake Marmer. Credit: Courtesy of American Jewish University.

American Jewish University (AJU) announces this year’s recipient of the annual Word 2024: Bruce Geller Memorial Prize, which celebrates artistic works that explore the intersections of Jewish ideas, texts and contemporary practices. 

The winner is Jake Marmer, head of school at the Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton, Mass.

He was awarded the $7,000 grand prize for a series of essays on Jewish tradition. This year, the contest—part of AJU’s ongoing commitment to enriching Jewish creativity—focused on Jewish-themed nonfiction essays.

“Jake Marmer’s work exemplifies the excellence and depth we seek to celebrate with the Word 2024: Bruce Geller Memorial Prize,” says Jeffrey Herbst, president of American Jewish University. “His essays displayed a profound and cohesive narrative quality that reflects the vibrant cultural landscape that AJU aims to create.”

Jake Marmer
Jake Marmer. Credit: Courtesy of American Jewish University.

The Word 2024: Bruce Geller Memorial Prize was made possible through a generous Cutting Edge Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, and celebrates the legacy of renowned screenwriter Bruce Geller and his wife Jeannette Geller. All submissions were reviewed and selected by a panel of distinguished scholars. Marmer’s essay is a tapestry of personal and historical narratives that explore the themes of endurance, heritage and resilience.

Marmer expressed his gratitude, saying, “The deeper I find myself immersed in literature, the more appreciation I feel for the sacred Jewish texts, which pay so much attention to the beauty and power of language. Conversely, the more I engage with my Jewishness, the more spirituality and spunk I find in my writing.”

He added that “all these dimensions are not separate but deeply interrelated in my writing in general and in the ‘Skazz’ project specifically, and I am so grateful to the esteemed American Jewish University for seeing and appreciating my work.”

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American Jewish University (AJU) is a thriving center of resources and talent that advances the Jewish journeys of individuals, organizations and community through excellence in scholarship, teaching, engaged conversation and outreach. AJU equips students, faculty, campers and learners of all ages with the tools to create ideas, build structures and develop programs to advance Jewish wisdom and elevate the world. For more information, visit: www.aju.edu.
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