JACOB RADER MARCUS CENTER OF THE AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES AT HEBREW UNION
COLLEGE-JEWISH INSTITUTE OF RELIGION IN CINCINNATI AWARDED $500,000 CHALLENGE
GRANT FROM THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES
Grant will enable world renowned American Jewish Archives to expand humanities
programs and create international electronic learning center
CINCINNATI, OHIO — The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish
Archives— at the Cincinnati, Ohio campus of Hebrew Union College - Jewish
Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR)—has been awarded a first-time National
Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Challenge Grant in the amount of $500,000
to support the construction of its new education building. In addition to providing
ample space for additional programs and exhibits, the new Edwin A. Malloy Education
Building will house the planned Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati International
Learning Center for the Study of the American Jewish Experience. To receive
this grant, The Marcus Center (AJA) has committed itself to raise 1.5 million
in non-federal matching funds to establish a total resource of $2 million.
In a letter notifying The Marcus Center that its application to the NEH Challenge
Grants Program had been successful, NEH Chairman Dr. Bruce Cole wrote, “Your
application was considered carefully during the NEH review process, which includes
peer review and specialist review along with deliberation by the National Council
on the Humanities and the Office of the Chairman.”
The National Council on the Humanities is comprised of a board of twenty-six
citizens nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the
Senate. The National Council convenes three times annually to advise the Chairman
of the Endowment. Of The Marcus Center’s Challenge Grant proposal, one
panelist reporting to the Council wrote that, “(The AJA) is America’s
premier Jewish historical archive and its importance is evident to all scholars
concerned with America’s Jewish history,” Another reviewer noted
that, “The AJA collections are beyond doubt of great significance for
humanities research, being among the largest repositories of materials reflecting
the American Jewish Experience.”
“(The Marcus Center’s proposal) makes a convincing case for the
centrality of the AJA activities to the humanities and for their relevance to
scholars in a wide variety of disciplines and from many geographical areas,”
said another panelist.
"These funds will enable us to enrich the study of American history and
the humanities in general,” said Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director
of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and Associate
Professor of the American Jewish Experience at HUC-JIR. "These grant funds
generously support our humanities activities by fostering scholarship, sustaining
educational programs, and making our records more accessible to a broader audience.
The Marcus Center’s new facilities will raise the profile of the study
of American Jewish life to new heights by shedding light on how a small religious
minority has adapted to life in the American nation and, in doing so, influenced
its culture significantly."
The new learning center's technological resources — including distance
learning spaces and interactive video capabilities — will make AJA's records
widely accessible to faculty, students, staff, and even international audiences.
The grant will also be used to create an endowment for the AJA.
Specifically, the endowment will provide for an expanded educator's position,
which will enhance existing and proposed educational programs.
"This state-of-the-art technology will increase the degree of engagement
by those who, due to geography or limited funds, have had insufficient access
to the holdings of the AJA, the HUC-JIR world renowned library, and to the expertise
of our faculty and professional staff," said Dr. Zola.