Digital Word 2021:

Bruce Geller Memorial Prize

Word: Bruce Geller Memorial Prize is an annual award designed to support projects that explore the meeting points of Jewish ideas and ideals, contemporary practice and texts. 

This year’s theme is FORGIVENESS, and AJU’s IJC is pleased to support projects that approach Jewish culture from a variety of perspectives and disciplines.

Seeking to broaden our support of Jewish artists and creatives during the pandemic era, this is the first year in which submissions were accepted from across the US, for digital projects that can be experienced worldwide.

Join us online to celebrate their grantees and explore their projects.

  • Katya Apekina - Out of This Spark


    Photo of Katya ApekinaApekina is working on a novel that examines immigration and ancestral trauma through the story of Zhenia, a pregnant millennial in L.A. in conversation with her great-grandmother, a Russian Revolutionary, through a psychic medium. Using Soviet-style fabulism and absurdist humor, she brings Zhenia into a reckoning as she embarks on motherhood.




  • Hadar Cohen - Selichot: Songs of Forgiveness

    Website, Poetry, Music Recording

    Photo of Hadar CohenSelichot: Songs of Forgiveness is a virtual art show on the liturgy and music of Selichot according to the Sephardic Jerusalemite tradition. 






  • Sharon Kagan - The Undoing: Forgiveness

    Painting, Sculpture, Installation, Video/Performance

    Photo of Sharon KaganThe Undoing video performance records artist Sharon Kagan’s hands while she knits and unravels waxed hemp twine accompanied by audio stories from a diverse community revealing a wrong experienced and the process of forgiving the wrongs committed.  The artist recites a Buddhist Metta meditation “may you be happy, may you be well, may you be safe, may you be peaceful and at ease” in an effort to help the audience learn how to forgive and release trauma.




  • Julia Knobloch - Heshbon HaNefesh, Poetic Accountings of the Soul: Forgiveness Edition

    Photo of Julia KnoblochThe Heshbon HaNefesh Project aims to create new spaces for the exploration of liturgically inspired poetry. My poems, written in response to the grant requirement, will be performed at an inaugural, artist-facilitated workshop for liturgical poetry, to be held in the Greater Los Angeles area.





  • Cassio Tolpolar - Moldova Impressions (and everything after)

    Book to Be Shared Via Social Media

    Photo of Cassio ToplarMoldova Impressions (and everything after) is a written collection of memories and experiences inspired by the author's journey to Moldova to investigate his Jewish roots and the consequences of this travel back in time. Mixing past and present, this is for anyone interested in genealogy, identity, traveling, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Judaism and History.



  • Avital Meshi - AI-Apologetic-T-Shirt

    Wearable Technology

    Photo of Avital MeshiThe AI-Apologetic-T-Shirt is a wearable-tech piece which utilizes an AI emotion-recognition algorithm. Once the shirt detects an 'Angry' or a 'Sad' looking person standing in front of the wearer it lights up and displays various apologetic messages. 





  • Dr. Erin Mizrahi and Jason Lipeles - The Book of Forgiveness

    Digital Book

    Dr. Erin Mizrahi and Jason Lipeles propose a digital book titled “The Book of Forgiveness”, exploring the multidirectional memory of forgiveness today. For Mizrahi and Lipeles, forgiveness is closely tied to grief and so the book will consider the slippages between forgiveness and grief through a collection of visual poetry, short essays and artistic interventions.

    Photo of Dr. Erin Mizrahi

    Photo of Jason Lipeles

  • Jonathan Skurnik - Death and Love

    Virtual Table Read

    Photo of Jonathan SkurnikDeath and Love is a short film about Sarah, a Jewish hospice worker whose encounter with an angry and forsaken Orthodox man forces her to finally grieve and forgive the untimely death of her beloved fiancé.

    Award-winning writer/director Jonathan Skurnik will direct an online table read of his film, followed by a conversation about death and forgiveness facilitated by Rabbi Susan Goldberg. 





  • Jericho Vincent - Tikkun for the Moon

    Instagram Essay

    Photo of Jericho VincentTikkun for the Moon is a series of Instagram essays that explore the lost feminine-centric practices of our ancient ancestors and how we might reconcile that lost wisdom with the patriarchal version of Judaism that we've inherited.





  • Julia Vogl and Gabriella Willenz - Rolling Gender

    Radio Play

    Rolling Gender is a sonic artwork, exploring the ways that the Eve and Adam myth hinders, helps and restrains us today when considering gender and family. Part documentary, part radio play, the artwork employs a pluralistic approach in search for new perspectives.

    Photo of Julia VogelPhoto of Gabriella Willenz

  • Josh Warshawsky - Hineni (Here I Stand)

    A Live Musical and Video Recording of a New Original Composition

    Photo of Josh WarshawskyHineni is a new musical composition for the High Holidays. The prayer speaks of the vulnerability of the prayer leader. A feeling of being unworthy for the task at hand: to pray and atone for their own sins and on behalf of the community gathered.

    In creating this composition, I crafted the melody to open up these words to the emotions that they evoke, and added new names to address God in that moment: "Master of Forgiveness - HeartSearcher - PrayerListener - Revealer of Depths."

    The recording will feature the Chaverai Nevarech Band. Check out their previous work here.

  • Ariel Wolpe - Ruach Neshama

    Music Album

    Photo of Ariel WolpeRuach Neshama is a collection of songs which employ traditional texts, lyrical midrash and nigun to channel Jewish wisdom and the Divine in nature.

    Listen to a few of her songs here.