The WORD Grant: Bruce Geller Memorial Prize, a project of American Jewish University’s Institute for Jewish Creativity, supports artists creating projects that explore Jewish ideas, themes, tradition, history, and identity. We believe in supporting a contemporary, vibrant, Jewish cultural landscape in Los Angeles.

2017-2018 GRANTEES:

  • Carmiel Banasky

    Sin and the Pelican

    Sin and the Pelican is a set of short stories exploring Jewish grief -- a mother's loss of her son to suicide, and that more abstract loss of our earth-as-we-know-it to climate change. The project will culminate in a fundraiser for the Wilderness Society's campaign to stop drilling in Alaska, featuring a reading of this work plus visual art from local artists on a recent expedition to the Arctic.

    Amount Awarded: $2,000.00

  • Ethan Braun

    Restoring the Aleph: Music for meditation, cantor, choir, and congregants

    This project will culminate in new music that explores the relationships of music, meditation, and prayer in our manifold histories as Jewish people. This music will accompany a meditation service held during Musaf at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, CA on a Shabbat in January 2018.

    Amount Awarded: $2,000.00

  • Hagar Cygler

    Faded but Not Forgotten

    Faded but not forgotten is a book set made out of the forgotten leftovers found in discarded books. This project derived from the Genizah, asks what happens when there are no clear rules and traditions to go by when letting go of books, and when we struggle to decide what to do with something we consider precious and valuable but have lost its usage.

    Amount Awarded: $2,000.00

  • Dmitry Kmelnitsky


    Inter[We]ave is envisioned as a Virtual Reality visual-music experience. The project strives for a sensory fusion as it explores the threads between the earthly and the mystical, summoning the spirit of the Shekinah through its immersive audio-visual poetry.

    Amount Awarded: $1,800.00​

  • Deanna Neil

    Pirkei Imahot - Ethics of the Mothers

    Pirkei Imahot, Ethics of the Mothers, is a collection of maxims that mirror the style of Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, but filled with contemporary female voices. This long over-due feminist companion aims to legitimize female spiritual leadership, modernize lessons, and create a new piece of literary art while honoring the traditional structure of pithy life-lessons.

    Amount Awarded: $1,000.00

  • Alexander Nemser


    Prophetess is "A wild animated retelling of the Moses story set in the near future. In a drought-ridden world, a mentally unstable woman becomes the reluctant liberator of a gang of enslaved outcasts, and must lead them on a visionary overland pilgrimage from Las Vegas to Mexico City in search of water."

    Amount Awarded: $2,000.00

  • Rebecca Ora

    Anne Frank: The Revised Definitive Critical Media Edition

    Anne Frank: The Revised Definitive Critical Media Edition will be a compendium of translations, transfers and transcodings of only the expurgated sections of Anne Frank The: Diary of a Young Girl. This project, which will take the form of a published volume, an interactive site and, ultimately, an art exhibition, uses this material to explore the boundaries of appropriate forms of representation of the traumatic past.

    Amount Awarded: $2,000.00

  • Ava Porter

    Judaic Crimea

    Judaic Crimea is an interactive digital web project that archives the remnants of Karaim, Krymchak, and Ashkenazi history, culture, and language in Crimea, once a flourishing center of both Karaite and Rabbinical Jewish life. The archive includes original videos of Karaims, Krymchaks, and Ashkenazi Jews as well as digital reproductions of various objects including texts, photographs, paintings, clothing, tableware, and furniture.

    Amount Awarded: $2,000.00