Texas Jewish Historical Society Announces Grant Money for Jewish Projects

Community News, The Jewish Outlook

Nov 23, 2020

By Tumbleweed Smith

While staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some people have written books, poetry or essays, produced video or audio pieces, painted something or created music about Judaism. They probably did them just because they had the desire to do them. This, after all, has given many people a little time for contemplation.

The mission of the Texas Jewish Historical Society is to preserve Jewish heritage in Texas. TJHS sponsors and promotes activities and projects that research, collect, preserve, publish and disseminate information in written, visual or audio media regarding the settlement and history of Jews in Texas and their participation in their communities’ social, economic, religious, political, professional and cultural growth.  

In addition to the ongoing educational programs presented at meetings and articles published in the TJHS quarterly News Magazine, TJHS has a grant program that provides financial assistance for worthy Jewish projects. Examples include a $4,000 grant given to Josh Furman, director of the Houston Jewish History Archive at Rice University, for drying and restoring documents from Beth Yeshurun and United Orthodox Synagogues damaged by Hurricane Harvey floods; a $3,000 grant given to the San Antonio section of the National Council of Jewish Women for an oral history documentary of the Jewish community in San Antonio; a $25,000 grant used to move the B’Nai Abraham Synagogue from Brenham to the Dell Jewish Community Campus in Austin; and a $25,000 grant given to the City of Corsicana for the upkeep and restoration of Temple Beth El. 

TJHS welcomes grant proposals. Applications should be sent to grantchair@txjhs.org or mailed to The Grant Committee, P.O. Box 10193, Austin, TX 78766-0193. For consideration at a quarterly TJHS board meeting, deadlines for submitting grant proposals are March 1, June 1, September 1 and December 1.

The grant committee reviews the applications received, considers their merits and makes recommendations to the board. The grant application is on the TJHS website at txjhs.org and in the TJHS News Magazine. 

The application calls for background on the person or organization submitting the application, a description of the project, anticipated budget and timeline. The finished product should mention TJHS support and will be recorded in the TJHS collection at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History in Austin.

In a separate category for young people, TJHS has established a fund with the Texas State Historical Association to encourage high school students to research topics on Jewish history. See the Texas State Historical Association website for more information. 

Also under the auspices of the Texas State Historical Association, TJHS offers a $2,000 award to a graduate student or lay historian who creates a work of scholarship on Texas Jewish history, including published books, chapters in published books, articles published in scholarly journals and post-graduate thesis or dissertations. Eligible works will have been created within the previous three years, so the 2021 award will be offered for a work created in 2018, 2019 and 2020.  The award is called the Lynna Kay Shuffield Memorial Award. Shuffield, a well-respected genealogist and TJHS board member, did extensive work in preserving Jewish cemeteries.

For information on the Shuffield competition, contact historic-designations@txjhs.org. ■

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