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Announcing the Carol Kahn Strauss Fellowship in Jewish Studies

The American Academy in Berlin is pleased to announce a gift of $2.4 million from Carol Kahn Strauss to establish an endowed fellowship in Jewish Studies. In recognition of this remarkable commitment, the Academy will name the fellowship in perpetuity for Mrs. Strauss, the longtime director of the Leo Baeck Institute, renowned figure in German-Jewish relations, and recipient of the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit (Grosses Bundesverdienstkreuz) and Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

The inaugural Carol Kahn Strauss Berlin Prize Fellowship in Jewish Studies will be awarded in the 2023-24 academic year and will bring one scholar annually to the Academy’s Hans Arnhold Center for a semester-long residency in Berlin. The Carol Kahn Strauss Fellowship will further anchor the Academy’s strong tradition of hosting scholars from the various academic disciplines that comprise Jewish Studies.

As an institution of advanced scholarship firmly established in the transatlantic community, the Academy is ideally suited as a bridge between the flourishing world of Jewish Studies on both sides of the Atlantic. “I’m tremendously grateful to Carol Kahn Strauss for making this gift. There is demonstrated demand for such a program among American scholars, and this fellowship will additionally help meet Germany’s considerable demand for scholarly exchange and public education on Judaism and German-Jewish history and culture,” said Daniel Benjamin, president of the American Academy in Berlin.

This fellowship will join an eminent roster of named fellowships at the Academy, which bring together scholars, writers, visual artists, policy experts, and journalists each semester to pursue their independent work, collaborate and convene with their peers, and participate in the Academy’s public programming.

Carol Kahn Strauss said, “The remarkable German-Jewish legacy passed on to me by my parents, my grandparents, and my husband is very close to my heart. To quote from Goethe’s Faust, ‘Was du ererbt von deinen Vätern hast, Erwirb es, um es zu besitzen (what you have inherited from your fathers, take hold of it to make it your own).’ Through my years as director of the Leo Baeck Institute, and before that as president of Congregation Habonim in New York, my mission has been to preserve and perpetuate that legacy. My commitment could not be more perfectly reflected than through the establishment of the Fellowship in Jewish Studies at the American Academy in Berlin.”

Sandra E. Peterson, chair of the Academy’s board of trustees, said: “On behalf of our board of trustees, it is a great privilege to welcome the establishment of this fellowship in perpetuity, and I would like to personally thank Carol for her extraordinary generosity and shared vision.”

To learn more about how philanthropy plays a role in sustaining the American Academy in Berlin, please contact Emily Carey, Vice President of Development, in New York City: +1.917.670.0102 or

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