Louis Rosenberg Canadian Jewish Studies Distinguished Service Award

Marcia Koven Award for Best Student Paper

Inaugural Meeting of the Jewish Historical Society, Montreal, 1964

Inaugural Meeting of the Jewish Historical Society,  Montreal, 1964. Louis Rosenberg at the podium. Photo credit: Canadian Jewish Congress Charities Committee National Archives

About the Louis Rosenberg Canadian Jewish Studies Distinguished Service Award

The ACJS established this award in 2001 to recognize the significant contribution by an individual, institution or group to Canadian Jewish Studies.In tribute to the scholarship of Louis Rosenberg, as of 2008 the award was named the “Louis Rosenberg Canadian Jewish Studies Distinguished Service Award.” Louis Rosenberg was a pioneer in the social scientific study of Canada’s Jews. Born in Poland in 1893, he moved with his family to England and studied at Leeds University (B.A., 1914). In 1915 he moved to Canada and, served as the director of settlement of the Jewish Colonization Association between 1919 and 1940. While in Saskatchewan he became active in the CCF and published, under the pseudonym Watt Hugh McCollum, a study of the concentration of wealth in Canada entitled Who Owns Canada? (1935, 1947). In 1939, he published his magnum opus on Canadian Jewry, Canada’s Jews (reprinted, 1993). Using the census data in a comprehensive and profound fashion, Rosenberg had few peers in the area of the study of Canadian demography. In 1945, Rosenberg was appointed to serve as “National Research Director” (and only employee) of the Bureau of Social and Economic Research at Canadian Jewish Congress, and he moved to Montreal. He produced a steady stream of social studies of Canada’s Jews, continuing to use the Canadian census material, but also conducting his own surveys. He wrote the several works of Jewish history, occasionally transcribing long primary sources in the process. His archives are located in both Ottawa (LAC) and Montreal (CJCCC). He died in 1987.

CJS Louis Rosenberg Distinguished Service Award 2019: Norma Baumel Joseph

It is a great honour for the ACJS to announce that Dr. Norma Baumel Joseph is the 2019 recipient of the Louis Rosenberg Canadian Jewish Studies Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Joseph brings together the highest standards of scholarship, creative and effective dissemination of research, and activism in a manner without rival in our field of Canadian Jewish studies, as well as being a respected voice in Jewish feminist studies more broadly.

Dr. Joseph’s scholarship is remarkable for her mastery of both traditional rabbinic sources and anthropological methods. Her work on the responsa of Rabbi Moses Feinstein, including an award-winning article published in American Jewish History 83,2 (1995), is based on a close reading of some of the most technical and difficult halakhic texts. Her mastery of these sources is also apparent in articles on women and prayer, the mehitzah, and the bat mitsvah. She has used her knowledge of halakhah in her academic work on Jewish divorce in Canada, including an article in Studies in Religion(2011) and is a collaborator in a recently awarded grant project, “Troubling Orthopraxies: A Studies of Jewish Divorce in Canada.” As a trained anthropologist, and as a feminist, she realizes that food is also a text and she has made important contributions to both the history of Iraqi Jews in Canada, and to our understanding of the history of food in the Jewish community. Her SSHRC-funded research has resulted in recent essays such as “From Baghdad to Montreal: Food, Gender and Identity.” Her ongoing reflections on Jewish women in Canada, first appearing as early as 1981 in the volume Canadian Jewish Mosaic are foundational texts in the study of Jewish women in Canada.

Dr. Joseph has chosen to disseminate her research and wisdom in a variety of effective ways. Her undergraduate and graduate students at Concordia praise her innovative student-centred teaching. Recently, she instituted a for-credit internship at the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish archives which has been beneficial to both the student and the archive. She is in constant demand as a lecturer in both professional and lay settings. Her work in film has reached a wide audience. She is unforgettable in Half the Kingdom, a 1989 NFB documentary on Jewish women and Judaism where she explores with sensitivity the challenges—and rewards—of being both a feminist and an Orthodox Jew. She also served as consultant to the film, and was a co-author of the accompanying guidebook to what has become one of the most important Canadian documentaries on a Jewish theme ever made. Since 2002 Dr. Joseph has also committed herself to public education by taking on the task of writing a regular column on Jewish life for the Canadian Jewish News. Her views are based on a deep understanding of Judaism and contemporary Jewish life and are worthy of anthologizing.

Dr. Joseph’s work as an activist is perhaps best known in the Canadian Jewish world. She is a founding member of the Canadian Coalition of Jewish Women for the Get and worked for the creation of a Canadian law to aid and protect agunot. As part of her Women for the Get work Dr. Joseph also participated in an educational film, Untying the Bonds – Jewish Divorce, produced by the Coalition of Jewish Women for the Get in 1997. She has also worked on the issue of agunot, as well as advocated for the creation of a prayer space for women at the Western Wall among international Jewish organizations.

Dr. Joseph is perhaps less known for her significant and lasting commitments to the study of Canadian Jewry. She helped in the founding of the Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies at Concordia, and convened the Institute from 1994 until 1997, when a Chair was hired. She was also a founder and co-director of Concordia University’s Azrieli Institute for Israel Studies. In 1998 she was appointed Chair of the CJC National Archives Committee, and has remained in the position since then, under the new designation of Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives. In this capacity, Dr. Joseph has been a forceful and effective advocate for protecting and promoting the preservation of Canadian Jewish archival material and for appreciating the professionalism of the staff. She has also lent her time and experience to multiple meetings and interventions at various crucial junctures in the recent history of the Canadian Jewish Archives, during which she has balanced and countered arguments that would have led to the dissolution or extreme diminishing of the Archives as we know it. Her perseverance in networking and using her powers of persuasion on key people of influence has been a significant factor in its continued existence. Her work on behalf of the Archives has drawn her into diverse committees and consultations. Notably she contributed her expertise to the chairing of a sub-committee convened by Parks Canada when their Commemorative Places section was in search of Canadian Jewish woman-related content. Her suggestions made during our 2005 meetings have resulted in several site designations over the course of the past twelve years.

Dr. Joseph has had a unique role in Canadian Jewish studies and Canadian Jewish life, and is richly deserving of the Louis Rosenberg Award.

Past Award Recipients

 Learn more about the Award Recipients

2018 – Richard Menkis
2017 – Ruth Panofsky
2016 – Janice Rosen
2015 – Pierre Anctil
2014 – Adam Fuerstenberg
2013 – Ira Robinson
2012 – Harold Troper
2011 – Marcia Koven
2010 – Eiran Harris
2009 – Seymour Mayne
2008 – Seymour Levitan
2007 – Cyril E. Leonoff
2006 – Irving Abella
2005 – Gerald Tulchinsky
2004 – Abraham Arnold
2003 – Ruth Goldbloom
2002 – Rabbi Gunther Plaut
2001 – Miriam Waddington

About the Marcia Koven Award for Best Student Paper

In  2011 our annual “best student paper” award was named the “Marcia Koven Award.” Marcia Koven was born in 1926 and throughout her life has been devoted to the preservation and transmission of the history of the Canadian Jewish community. She is the founder of the Saint John Jewish Historical Society and the creator of the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum. Koven received the Louis Rosenberg Canadian Jewish Studies Distinguished Service Award in 2011. This award is sponsored by friends and relatives of Marcia Koven. There is a cash prize associated with this award.

Marcia Koven Award 2018:

The Association for Canadian Jewish Studies (ACJS) is pleased to announce Magdalene Klassen as the recipient of the 2018 Marcia Koven Award for Best Student Paper presented at the 2018 ACJS conference, held at the McCord Museum and Concordia University in Montreal on May 12-14, 2018. Vardit Lightstone and Christopher Chanco also received honourable mention. This award is sponsored by friends and relatives of Marcia Koven.

L’Association d’études juives canadiennes (AÉJC) est heureuse d’annoncer que Magdalene Klassen a reçu le Prix Marcia Koven 2018 pour la meilleure communication par un(e) étudiant(e) présentée à la conférence annuelle de l’AÉJC, tenue au Musée McCord et à l’Université Concordia à Montréal du 12 au 14 mai 2018. Vardit Lightstone et Christopher Chanco ont également reçu une mention honorable. Ce prix est commandité par les amis et la famille de Marcia Koven.

Marcia Koven Award 2017:

The Association for Canadian Jewish Studies is pleased to announce Gesa Trojan as the recipient of the 2017 Marcia Koven Award for Best Student Paper presented at the 2017 ACJS Conference held at Ryerson University in Toronto on 28-30 May 2017.  Simon-Pierre Lacasse also received Honourable Mention.  This award is sponsored by friends and relatives of Marcia Koven.

Winner of the 2017 Marcia Koven Award for Best Student Paper:
Gesa Trojan (Technische Universität Berlin): “’Add Matzo meal and stir well’: Food as a Practice and a Representation of Urban Jewishness in Interwar Toronto.”

Honourable Mention:
Simon-Pierre Lacasse (Université d’Ottawa):  “À la croisée de la Révolution tranquille et du judaïsme orthodoxe: l’implantation de la communauté hassidique des Tasher au coeur du Québec francophone et catholique (1962-1967).”

Marcia Koven Award 2016:

The Association for Canadian Jewish Studies is pleased to announce Lindsey Jackson as the recipient of the 2016 Marcia Koven Award for Best Student Paper presented at the 2016 ACJS Conference held at the University of Calgary on 30-31 May 2016.  Daniel Simeone also received Honourable Mention.  This award is sponsored by friends and relatives of Marcia Koven.

Winner of the 2016 Marcia Koven Award for Best Student Paper:
Lindsay Jackson (Concordia) “Bloodless Bris: Intactivism and brit shalom in the Montreal Jewish Community”

Honourable Mention:
Daniel Simeone (McGill) “In Prison for Debt: Jewish Debtors in the Montreal District Prison between 1865 and 1900”

Yosef Robinson (Concordia) “‘Rewritten Bibles’ in Modern Canadian Literature”

Past Award Recipients



Antoine Burgard (UQÀM)/Université Lumière Lyon 2), Entre exigences administratives et attentes de la communauté, le Congrès Juif Canadien et l’immigration d’orphelins de la Shoah depuis l’Europe de l’immédiat après-guerre

Rebecca Margolis, PhD (University of Ottawa) and Meghan Cavanagh (University of Ottawa), Canadian Yiddish in the Internet Age

Honourable Mention:

Yosef Robinson (Concordia University),Montreal’s Keneder Odler in the 1920s and 1930s


SJ Kerr-Lapsley, McGill University
“Roots, Routes and Bridges: An Introduction to the Involvement of Holocaust Survivors in Holocaust Education in Vancouver”

Honourable Mention:

Allie Cuperfain, Ryerson University
“The Identities of Toronto: An Analysis of UJA’s Annual Campaign 2012”


Amy Coté, University of Victoria
“Analyzing Stories: (Re-)Reading Anne Michaels’ Fugitive Pieces after the I-Witness Field School”

Honourable Mention:

Maxa Sawyer, York University
“The Voices of Birthright Israel: Going Beyond the Jewish Homeland Narrative to Create a Realistic Relationship between the Jewish Canadian Diaspora and Israel”


Kata Bohus, PhD student, Central European University, Budapest
“Standing together or staying apart? Contradictions of integration among 1956-er Hungarian Jewish refugees in Toronto”

Honourable Mention:

Faith Jones, University of British Columbia
“Grade’s Quarrel in Montreal”


Adara Goldberg, PhD student, Clark University
“Left in the West: Orphaned Holocaust survivors in Western Canada”


Gary Smolyansky, MA student, York University
“Class, identity and ethnicity in Russian-speaking Jewish communities in post-WWII Canada”


Faith Jones, MA student, University of British Columbia
“‘Di ershte un greste Yidishe bukh stor’: Miller’s Books advertising, 1910-1920”


Tanhum Yoreh, York University
“Religious Geographies: A case study of Haredi consumption patterns in Canada and Israel”