The Donald and Robin Kennedy Undergraduate Award Winners

Kennedy Award winners and their essays


Adam Schorin

"On Trauma and Camp": I spent last summer researching the Holocaust and my grandparents' experiences of the Holocaust in Germany, Poland, and Russia. I kept encountering these bizarre, campy things related to or in sites of incredible trauma. That's what this essay's about. -Adam Schorin

Adam is an American Studies major and a Creative Writing minor and this summer, he'll be conducting research  for a professor in the history department and continuing to work on a fiction project on a major grant. 

Essay written for Professor Tobias Wolff's class


Debra Linfield

"Reluctant to Save a Life? BRCA1 Gene Testing Among Orthodox Jewish Women": This essay explores critical issues surrounding BRCA1 genetic testing for Jewish Orthodox women: Ashkenazi women have a high prevalence of the mutation, but within the Orthodox community there are socio-cultural and stigma constraints to testing.  The essay then addresses how genetic testing may become more accepted, to save countless lives. 

Debra is a senior majoring in Biology and minoring in Math. She will be serving next year as a Fellow at the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, North Carolina, before applying to medical school. 

Essay written for Professor Londa Schiebinger's History class "History of Women and Gender in Science, Medicine and Engineering".


Megan McKoy

"I wrote my essay "When the Personal Became Political" for Professor Estelle Freedman's Writing in the Major course, which had a focus on Race, Gender, and Sexuality.  I began with a broad topic of Black-Jewish race relations during the Civil Rights Movement.  I eventually narrowed my focus on Black-Jewish intermarriage, as I learned about the numerous Black and Jewish couples that met during the Civil Rights Movement.  Although I previously had studied and had written about social justice causes and Black-Jewish relations, I had never examined the topic on an individual level.  Using a range of primary sources to analyze the lives of Amiri Baraka, Hettie Cohen, Alice Walker, and Melvyn Leventhal allowed me to dig further into Black-Jewish relations." -Megan McKoy


Doria Charlson

"This essay delves into the life and work of Judah Monis, the first Jew to graduate from an American university, who was also the first Jewish professor and the first instructor of Hebrew at Harvard College. Using the context of Christian Hebraism, this essay explores how a Jewish immigrant to the colonies was able to infiltrate a notoriously insular Puritan community and advance the study of the Hebrew language in the New World." -Doria Charlson

Doria Charlson is a graduating Senior majoring in History and minoring in Theater and Performance Studies, with a concentration in Dance. She is very involved in the Jewish community as the former President of the Jewish Student Association, the Dance Division, Stanford Associated Religions, and the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority. In September, Doria will be moving to Strasbourg, France on a Fulbright Scholarship to conduct research on the Jewish community in Alsace.


Isaac Bleaman

Class of 2012
Double-major in Linguistics and Comparative Literature, with honors
Advisors: Gabriella Safran (Slavic Languages and Literatures) and John Rickford (Linguistics)


Stephanie Weber

"Yad Vashem: From Memorializing Collective Devastation to Forging a National Identity"
Earth Systems major
Essay written for Professor Scott Herndon's PWR 2 class "The Rhetoric of Tourism"


Sarah Anne Golabek-Goldman

"Polish Historical Memory of the Holocaust"
Thesis adviser: Professor Katherine Jolluck
Department of History


Nathan Hayflick

"Babel and Brodsky: Celestial Navigators of Russian-Jewish Identity"
Major in Slavic Studies: Russian Language and Literature, Class of 2010
Advisors: Gabriella Safran and Gregory Freidin
Essay written for Professor Gabriella Safran's class on Russian-Jewish literature


Jonathan Canel

"By the Rivers of Iberia: Exile and Homeland in Andalusian Jewish Poetry"
Major:  History, Class of 2010
Advisor: David Como. The essay was written under the guidance of Kathryn A. Miller.


Best Seminar Paper: Michael Petrin

"Adonai echad?: An Essay on Unity and Plurality in Medieval Jewish Philosophy and Kabbalah."
Advisor: Professor David Malkiel
This essay examines an interesting problem set (tension between the unity and plurality of the deity), and skillfully juxtaposes how medieval Jewish philosophers and kabbalists dealt with it. It is cogently argued and relies on a mix of primary and secondary sources. It is an excellent seminar paper, dealing with core Jewish Studies texts and subject matter.

Michael is currently a senior double majoring in Religious Studies and Philosophy. His academic interests include early Christianity, the mystical experience in Judaism and Chrisitanity, as well as the philosophy of religion. Michael worked as a research assistant for Prof. Miriam Leonard on a project titled "The Encounter between Hellenism and Judaism: The Thought and Influence of Philo of Alexandria," which deals not only with Philo's philosophy itself, but also with Philo's effect upon and reception by later generations. Currently, he is writing his honors thesis in the Religious Studies Department with Prof. Charlotte Fonrobert, comparing early Jewish and Christian mystical literature. He will go to Notre Dame University in the fall to do his M.A. in Theological Studies.


Best Honor Thesis: Annie Schiff

"Afterlives of the Greek Bible: Reception of the Septuagint in Jerome and Rabbinic Midrash"
Advisor: Professor Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert
It is well structured, well written, and  a fine work of scholarship on the role of the Septuagint Bible translation - and Bible translations in general - in Christianity and Judaism in late Antiquity.

Annie graduated from Stanford in June 2008, with a bachelor’s degree in Classics. While at Stanford, she studied Latin literature, late antiquity Judaism and early Christianity in the classical world. She not only graduate with honors from the Classics Department, but beyond the Kenneday award received the Golden award, a university wide award for exceptional honors theses. Annie is planning to attend rabbinical school with Hebrew Union College, but in the meantime she is working in Jewish education, having received a prestigious and selective fellowship from the Schusterman foundation. 


Danielle Levine

Major: American Studies


Nathan Kurz

"Writing and Rewriting the Balfour Declaration: The Manchester Zionists and Chaim Weizmann"


Carla Fenves

"The Purifying Waters: Contemporary American Jewish Women's Mikvah Ritual"


Matan Shacham

"The Views of Vanoc": Arnold White as a Case Study of Modern English Antisemitism


Emily Kate Dawson

"The Jewish Mother Reconsidered: A portrait of Jewish Motherhood On the West Coast of the U.S. 1949-1960”                                                                                                                                    
Major: History                                                                                                                           
Advisors: Estelle Freedman and Joel Beinin


Rachel Seelig

"Impossible Homecoming: The Reversal and Reconstruction of Biblical Myth in S.Y. Agnon's Tmol Shilshom"                                                                                                                                      
Major: Comparative Literature


John Mandsager

"The 'Eruv: A Space for Negotiating Identity"
Major: Religious Studies


Adam Kolman Marshak

"The Many Faces of King Herod: Client Kingship and Hellenistic Jewish Monarchy in the Herodian Dynasty"


Daniel Weinberger

"The Local Consequences of Economic Globalization in Israel: An Examination of Contemporary Transformations in The Israeli Development Towns"
Major: Department of International Relations


Noam Leslau

"Conflict of Nations: A Discourse Analysis" Limpieza de Sangre, Medieval Communitites, and the Emergence of Spanish National Identity
Major: Department of History


Mia Sara Bruch

"Idioms of Intellect: Lionel Trilling and Henry Louis Gates, Jr."


Michael Green

"Inclinations: The Yester Hara and Biodeterminism"
Advisor: Arnold Eisen


Catherine Bernard

"tell him that I: Women Writing the Holocaust"


Brandi Krantz

"Reaching for Mother, Running from Mother: Representations of Jewish Mothers in the Fiction and Autobiography of Early Twentieth Century Jewish American Immigrants"
Major:  American Studies, English
Advisor: Joyce Moser


Richard Juang

"Jacob and Rebecekah, Political Strategist and Teacher: An Examniation of Jacob as a Political Leader and of Rebekah as a Teacher of Deception"