LAJSA Awards


LAJSA is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 awards for best books (sole-authored and edited volume), best dissertation, and the Edna Aizenberg Research Award. We wish to extend our gratitude to all those who participated in the selection committees for their time, effort, and thoughtful evaluation of the submissions. We also thank and congratulate all those who submitted their excellent scholarship for consideration. It is heartening to know that we have so many active, innovative, and engaging scholars among our membership.

Adriana M. Brodsky and Ariana Huberman, LAJSA Co-presidents


Flavio Fiorani, Habitar la distancia: ficciones latinoamericanos sobre el judaísmo (Rome: Nova Delphi, 2022)

Flavio Fiorani’s Habitar la distancia: ficciones latinoamericanos sobre el judaísmo examines diasporic genealogies in a competent and illuminating way. Interrogation, genealogy, and diaspora, which are relevant and unavoidable questions in Jewish Studies, are central in Fiorani’s excellent text. These three concepts function as admirable theoretical operatives for the study of “una historia fracturada”, “el umbral de las lenguas”, “el álbum de família”, and “la escritura como zona de diáspora.” These and other themes are treated in a clear manner and are exemplary of Latin American literary tradition. Of special note is the bestiary in the chapter titled “Centauros y leopardos cruzando fronteiras,” a reflection about “tierra de promisión” and an “imposible traducción” to Jewish vestiges in the New World.


Natasha Zaretsky, Acts of Repair: Justice, Truth, and the Politics of Memory in Argentina (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2020).

Acts of Repair explores how ordinary people grapple with decades of political violence and genocide in Argentina—a history that includes the Holocaust, the political repression of the 1976–1983 dictatorship, and the 1994 AMIA bombing. Although the struggle against impunity seems inevitably incomplete, Argentines have created possibilities for repair through cultural memory, yielding spaces for transformation and agency critical to personal and political recovery.


Katalin Franciska Rac and Lenny A. Ureña Valerio (eds.), Jewish Experiences across the Americas: Local Histories through Global Lenses (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2022)

This collection of essays reflects the breadth and depth of the Jewish presence in the Americas. From the colonial period through modern times and throughout North America and Latin America. The essays in the volume explore Jewish life and culture through various linguistic, political, and cultural contexts while maintaining a thematic and methodological coherence. The editors and the contributors craft a wide-ranging conversation about the complexity of the Jewish experience in the Americas.


In his doctoral dissertation titled “Los detenidos-desaparecidos pertenecientes a la comunidad judía durante la Dictadura argentina. De 1976 – 1983” (Université du Québec à Montréal, 2021), Guillermo Glujovsky examines the motives that led to the disappearance of 2,000 members of the Jewish community during the last civic-military dictatorship in Argentina. By establishing a dialogue with prior academic research on this topic, the primary objective focuses on refuting the idea that all forced disappearances of Jewish men and women were related to their participation in Leftist revolutionary movements. In this sense, through an investigation that stands out for its theoretical and argumentative framework as much as for the internal coherence of the proposed hypotheses, the author maintains that the detention and disappearance of Argentine Jews was due to a multiplicity of causes. Among them, those that played a central role are on the one hand, antisemitism, and on the other, a community institutional trajectory that systematically has rejected various expressions of alternative Jewish movements. As much for the originality of its hypotheses as for its contribution to Latin American Jewish Studies, it was chosen to receive the 2023 LAJSA Best Dissertation award.


Rachel Kaufman (University of California, Los Angeles), “Quería Enseñar: Conversa Transmission, Memory, and Adaptation in Mexico and New Mexico”

The research will contribute to Latin American historiography on race and gender in colonial New Spain by incorporating conversa histories into the narrative. Moreover, it will expand Jewish Studies historiography on Marranos by examining conversa identity and mutability through the lenses of gender, power, and race. The selection committee found the project experimental and exciting for its interdisciplinary approach and the themes the author has chosen to analyze.


LAJSA is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 awards for best book and best dissertation and the Edna Aizenberg Research Award. Under normal circumstances the announcement would be made at the international research conference that was to be held in Curaçao at the end of June. LAJSA would like to thank all those who participated in the selection committees for their time, effort, and thoughtful evaluation of the submissions. We also thank and congratulate all those who submitted their excellent scholarship for consideration. It is heartening to know that we have so many active, innovative, and engaging scholars among our membership.

Adriana M. Brodsky and Darrell B. Lockhart, LAJSA Co-presidents


The committee requested that the award be presented to two authors this year as a special exception. This proposal was brought before the co-presidents and the LAJSA Board and approved.

Laura Limonic, Kugel and Frijoles: Latino Jews in the United States (Wayne State University Press, 2019)

This book is pioneering in its overview of the contemporary Jewish immigrant experience from Latin America and explores the distinctiveness of Jewish Latino populations in the process of integrating into U.S. culture. Limonic examines how Latin American Jews constructed a new pan-ethnic identity in this country. Written in an accessible and engaging way, Kugel and Frijoles draws upon the concepts of heterogeneity, interconnectivity, and transnationalism among Jews originating from many Latin American countries and adopting national and religious identities in response to different situations.

Mariusz  Kałczewiak, Polacos in ArgentinaPolish Jews, Interwar Migration, and the Emergence of Transatlantic Jewish Culture (University of Alabama Press, 2019)

Mariusz  Kałczewiak has gone far beyond writing an excellent study of transatlantic migrant cultures. Through pathbreaking, multi-archive, multilingual research Polacos in Argentina transforms our understanding of transnational Jewish and Yiddish cultures. As the best studies always do, this book transcends its specific topics to offer new insights into how scholars might understand the movement of peoples across multiple borders, and how long term migrations come to transform both destination societies and the places from which the migrants originally came.


The committee unanimously agreed to present the 2021 LAJSA Best Dissertation Award to Dr. Michael Rom for his work entitled “Brazilian Belonging:  Jewish Politics in Cold War Brazil, 1930-1985” submitted to Yale University (2019). The award committee chose this dissertation for its originality, quality of scholarship and historical analysis, and contribution to the field of Jewish Latin American history in general, and the history of the Jewish community in Brazil particularly. Rom offers a profound and meticulous analysis of the internal and external relationships within the Jewish community of Brazil during the Cold War area, while studying the conflicts within the community’s political spheres during these decades. This dissertation focuses on the impact of national, international and transnational processes on the decision and actions of young Jewish Brazilians within Zionist and Communist circles, resulting often in a conflict of interests and clashes. For his profound investigation of multiple and diverse historical sources, as well as bibliographic references and archive documents, its narrative style, theoretical and scholarly contribution, as well as innovative perspectives Michael Rom is most deserving of the 2021 dissertation award.


Elaine Fitz Gibbon (Harvard University) “Musiktheater in Transit: Circum-Atlantic Perspectives on Avant-garde Music Theater (1945–Present)”



The selection committee unanimously agreed to confer the 2020 Edna Aizenberg Research Award to C. Tova Markenson (Northwestern University) to complete her project “Performing Jewish Migration: Gender, Sexuality, and Embodiment in Latin America’s River Plate Basin (1900-1939). The committee positively valued the goal of the candidate to achieve a refreshing approach to the subject. In her description, Ms. Markenson writes: “To offer a new way of understanding the migration experiences of Latin American Jewish women such as prostitutes, moral reformers, and actresses: I argue that they strategically represented their experiences before Jewish and Gentile authorities in order to persuade Latin American authorities that they were ‘morally upstanding.’ In other words, they needed to perform.”



Rachelle Grossman (PhD candidate, Harvard University). Dissertation: “Cultural Capital: Networks of Yiddish Publishing and the Postwar Rise of Buenos Aires.”



Stephen Silverstein, The Merchant of Havana: The Jew in the Cuban Abolitionist Archive (Vanderbilt UP, 2016)

Honorable Mention: Edna Aizenberg, On the Edge of the Holocaust: The Shoah in Latin American Literature and Culture (UP New England, 2015)

Honorable Mention: Annette Levine and Natasha Zaretsky, eds. Landscapes of Memory and Impunity: The Aftermath of the Amia Bombing in Jewish Argentina (Brill 2015)


Mariusz Kalczewiak (Tel Aviv University): “Jewish Polacos, Argentina and the Yiddishland”

Honorable Mention: Yitzhak Lewis (Columbia University): “Writing the Margin: Rabbi Nachman of Braslav, Jorge Luis Borges and the Question of Jewish Writing”

Raelene Wyse, a LAJSA member who is a doctoral student in Comparative Literature at the University of Texas at Austin, has been awarded the 2014-2015 Premio Corda for the best master’s thesis on the poetry of David Rosenmann-Taub:[]

Peruvian writer Isaac Goldemberg has received the 2015 PEN Club of Peru Award in recognition of his work as a novelist, poet, playwright and essayist and of his many important contributions to Peruvian letters and, by extension, to the definition of Peruvian identity.

In their statement regarding the Award, the Board of Directors declared the following: “Isaac Goldemberg is one of Peru’s and Latin America’s most important writers. The numerous books and articles written about his work are sufficient testimony to the high esteem in which he is held in the Americas, especially when one observes that among those critics who have acclaimed him in recent years are some of the most important Latin American critics, poets and fiction writers, such as Mario Vargas Llosa, Oscar Hijuelos, Carlos Fuentes, José Emilio Pacheco, Margo Glantz, Ariel Dorfman, Severo Sarduy, Julio Ortega, Raúl Zurita, and Carlos Germán Belli. We can think of no other contemporary first-rate Latin American author who has been so successful in different genres.”

Moreover, the deciding panel stated that its decision was based on the fact that Goldemberg’s books have been published in different languages, his work has been included in numerous anthologies in Latin America, Europe and the United States, and has received excellent reviews throughout the world in such prestigious publications as the New York Times Book Review, Newsweek and The New Yorker (U.S.A.); La voce d’ItaliaLa Nazione, and Il Sole 24 Ore (Italy); Le Temps (France); Excélsior and La Jornada (Mexico); El Mercurio (Chile); El Mundo (Spain); Clarín (Argentina); El Comercio (Peru), El Tiempo (Colombia); El Día (Uruguay); Ariel (Israel)and others. Also, because he is in the list of most studied Latin American authors in U.S. universities. Furthermore, it was taken into consideration the fact that his novel The Fragmented Life of Don Jacobo Lerner was selected by the Yiddish Book Center of the United States as one of the 100 most important works of the last 150 years; that it was selected by a committee of critics and writers as one of the best 25 Peruvian novels of all time; and that it was included in these important volumes, among others: Masterpieces of Latino Literature; World Literature and Its TimesMasterplots II. American Fiction Series; and Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature.

Isaac Goldemberg has lived in New York since 1964. Presently he is Distinguished Professor at Eugenio María de Hostos Community College of The City University of New York, where he is the director of the Latin American Writers Institute and the editor of Hostos Review.


 Jacobo Sefamí 2015 LAJSA Awards Chair


Jury: Alejandro Meter, Amalia Ran, and Erin Graff Zivin.

The LAJSA Dissertation Award Committee wishes to congratulate Professor Devi Mays (Ph.D. Indiana University) for her dissertation: “Transplanting Cosmopolitans: The Migrations of Sephardic Jews to Mexico, 1900-1934.” Mays’s dissertation is a valuable contribution to the field of Jewish Latin American studies with its original emphasis on and critical analysis of the migration of Sephardic Jews from the Ottoman Empire to Mexico. By investigating the histories of these Jewish immigrants as “familiar strangers,” who conformed to and defied governmental and social classifications of race, ethnicity, nationality, and belonging, this dissertation challenges conventional notions of migration and of collective affiliations. She convincingly argues that migrant identities and affiliations are fluid constructions modified according to the local, national, regional, and transnational circumstances of that particular moment. Soundly reasoned and coherently written, Mays’s dissertation draws on critical bibliographical material that sheds new light on the history of Jewish immigration to Mexico.


Jury: Susana Brauner, Edna Aizenberg, and Saúl Sosnowski.

This year’s LAJSA Book Award goes to our colleague, Erin Graff Zivin, for her study, Figurative Inquisitions: Conversion, Torture, and Truth in the Luso-Hispanic Atlantic (Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 2014). The book award committee chose Prof. Graff Zivin’s volume for its theoretical sophistication, innovative methodology, and humanistic concerns. Rather than seeing interrogation and torture from the usual legal or pragmatic perspectives, Graff Zivin turns to literature, examining how what she calls literary “scenes of interrogation” reveal an inquisitorial logic that underlies early modern societies. This logic of torture, she argues, continues down to our day. Latin American Jewish questions lie at the heart of Graff Zivin’s analysis through marrano fictions that serve as the principal corpus for her book. These novels, films and plays deal with figures such as New Spain’s crypto-Jewish martyr, Luis de Carvajal, among others. By focusing on how literature expresses anti-inquisitorial views through the broken bodies of Jews—most specifically marranos—literature, in Graff Zivin’s words, bears witness to the “impossible event of truth that stands at the heart of the scene of interrogation.”


Emmanuel Nicolás Kahan. Recuerdos que mienten un poco. Vida y memoria de la experiencia judía durante la última dictadura militar (Buenos Aires: Prometeo Libros, 2014). Este libro puede considerarse un innovador y significativo aporte a los estudios judíos latinoamericanos como así también a los análisis sobre la historia reciente y la memoria en Argentina producidos desde distintos ámbitos disciplinares. Es una obra que invita a problematizar los enfoques predominantes acerca de la experiencia de los judíos durante la última dictadura militar. Su texto desafía la memoria sobre la trayectoria de diversos actores, de la prensa e instituciones durante ese período. Recupera, asimismo, otras facetas relevantes y antes invisibilizadas que pueden relativizar las perspectivas que imperan sobre la temática. Esta investigación, rigurosa y bien escrita, se legitima tanto en el vasto universo de fuentes históricas como en su diálogo con la bibliografía académica.

Alejandro Dujovne. Una historia del libro judío. La cultura judía argentina a través de sus editores, libreros, traductores, imprentas y bibliotecas (Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI Editores, 2014). El volumen de Alejandro Dujovne es un aporte original a los estudios judíos latinoamericanos. Con una amplia investigación, hace un recorrido del libro judío en la Argentina, desde finales de la década de 1910 hasta mediados de los años 1970, en que se considera su declive. Con un capítulo introductorio que resume la evolución de la cultura impresa judía a nivel internacional, el autor se adentra posteriormente en el libro ídish en Buenos Aires, las traducciones realizadas entre 1919 y 1938, las ediciones de volúmenes con temática judía en castellano de 1938 a 1974, un análisis de la Editorial Israel, una revisión de las bibliotecas y librerías judías de Buenos Aires y, finalmente, una exploración del Mes de Libro Judío (1947- 1973). El estudio de Dujovne demuestra la riqueza de la cultura argentina judía gracias al análisis pormenorizado de ese acervo tan amplio y diverso.

El 30 de noviembre de 2015, Alicia Gojman recibió un Reconocimiento por parte de la Universidad Nacional como fundadora del campus de la Facultad de Estudios Superiores, Acatlán hace 40 años y por su labor docente durante estos años. Medalla y diploma.

Para el Núcleo de Estudios Judíos del IDES es un orgullo informar y compartir con los amigos y amigas de LAJSA, la concesión del “Premio a la Labor Científica, Tecnológica y Artística 2015” de la Universidad Nacional de la Plata a Emmanuel Kahan, en el rubro Humanidades. Sin dudas, una distinción muy merecida. La entrega del Premio tendrá lugar hoy, miércoles 16, a las 18 hrs, en el Patio de la Presidencia de esa Universidad.

Saludos cordiales,

Alejandro Dujovne

LAJSA felicita a Alberto Manguel por su nombramiento como Director de la Biblioteca Nacional )

Judit Liwerant, Premio UNAM en el área de Invesitgación en Ciencias Sociales. El Premio Universidad Nacional, ortorgado por la UNAM es un modo de honrar el mérito universitario y la trayectoria en investigación de quien ha colaborado activamente en la construcción de una agenda sobre los estudios judíos en/desde Latinoamérica.

Link de la Gaceta de UNAM: