American Jewish University Announces Word 2024: Bruce Geller Memorial Prize Recipient

LOS ANGELES – American Jewish University (AJU) announced today the 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.   


This year’s recipient was Jake Marmer, the head of school at the Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton, Massachusetts. He was awarded the $7,000 grand prize for his 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," said 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."  


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.  


Jake 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. All these dimensions are not separate but deeply interrelated in my writing - especially in the 'Skazz' project, which these award-winning essays are a part of. I am so grateful to the esteemed American Jewish University for seeing and appreciating my work."


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ABOUT AJU: About AJU: American Jewish University (AJU) is a thriving center of Jewish resources and talent that serves the Jewish community of the twenty-first century. A portal for Jewish belonging, AJU equips students, faculty, campers, and learners of all ages with the tools to create the ideas, build the structures, and develop the programs to advance Jewish wisdom and elevate Jewish living. For more information, visit   


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