Dr. Menahem Schmelzer, JTS Scholar, Receives Prestigious Award

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
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March 22, 2010, New York, NY

msDr. Menahem Schmelzer, the Albert B. And Bernice Cohen Professor Emeritus of Medieval Hebrew Literature and Jewish Bibliography at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), recently received the Alexander Scheiber Prize from the Ministry of Culture and Education of Hungary.

Gergely Arató, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Education and Culture, presented the prize to Dr. Schmelzer. Established in 1996, the Alexander Scheiber Prize is awarded to Hungarians (including those born in Hungary and no longer living there) who have achieved distinction in Jewish religion, history, culture, or education, and who promote dialogue and tolerance between Jews and non-Jews. Three people receive the award each year. The other recipients of this year's award were Dr. Ambrus Miskolczy, historian and author of Hitler’s Library, and Dr. Zoltan Tibori, journalist and historian.

A full-time member of the JTS faculty since 1961, Dr. Schmelzer served as its librarian from 1964 to 1987. His recent articles include "On Hebrew Wedding Poems in Medieval Ashkenaz" (Essays on Hebrew Literature in Honor of Avraham Holtz, 2003), "How Was the High Priest Kept Awake on the Night of Yom Ha-Kippurim?" (Saul Lieberman, edited by M. Lubetski, 2002), and "The Contribution of the Genizah to the Study of Liturgy and Poetry" (Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research, 1997–2001). In addition to writing numerous articles and reviews for scholarly journals, Dr. Schmelzer was associate division editor of the "Modern Jewish Scholarship" section of Encyclopaedia Judaica. He has lectured at the Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University, and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In 1992, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1999, Dr. Schmelzer was the recipient of an honorary degree from the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago. He was appointed distinguished visiting senior scholar at the Kluge Center in the Library of Congress for a four-month period in 2004.

Dr. Schmelzer studied at the University of Budapest; the Jewish Theological Seminary–University of Jewish Studies, Hungary; and the University of Basel, Switzerland. He earned a librarian's diploma from the State Library School in Copenhagen, a master of arts from the University of Copenhagen, and a Doctorate of Hebrew Literature from JTS.

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