Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals
The Jewish-American Hall of Fame's logo
The Jewish-American Hall of Fame's logo
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The Jewish-American Hall of Fame is a non-profit website featuring 500 years of American Jewish history from the Jews who helped Columbus to Barbra Streisand, illustrated by specially commissioned art medals. The tradition of American Jewish medals is understood to date back to about 1812.

The Jewish-American Hall of Fame was established by Mel Wacks at the Judah L. Magnes Museum in Berkeley, California in 1969, with the support and encouragement of Seymour Fromer, Director of the Magnes Museum. Limited edition medals are issued annually to commemorate the accomplishments of men and women in various fields, historic sites and events. The first medal and almost all subsequent issues are uniquely trapezoidal shape, an innovation of Berkeley sculptor Victor Ries. In 2001, the Jewish-American Hall of Fame became a Division of the American Jewish Historical Society in New York.

Medals

Over 25,000 medals have been made and sold by the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, and they are in collections of individuals and museums in the United States, China, England, Israel, Sweden, etc.

In 1990, Alan Stahl wrote in the catalog of FIDEM (International Federation of Medallic Art that the Jewish-American Hall of Fame medals were one of the three most "important series of medals in recent years."

Year Honoree(s) Description Medallist
1969 Judah L. Magnes (1877-1948) Founder Hebrew University Victor Ries
1970 Albert Einstein (1879-1955) Theoretical physicist Hal Reed
1971 Louis Brandeis (1856-1941) Supreme Court Justice Gerta Ries Wiener
1972 George Gershwin (1898-1937) Composer, pianist Robert Russin
1973 Haym Salomon (1740-1785) Patriot, bussinessman Paul Vincze
1974 Herbert Lehman (1878-1963) Public servant Jacques Schneir
1975 Gershom Seixas (1745-1816) Patriotic rabbi (Revolutionary War) Gerta Ries Wiener
1976 Henrietta Szold (1860-1945) Founder of Hadassah Gerta Ries Wiener
1977 Touro Synagogue (1763) Oldest extant synagogue Victor Ries
1978 Golda Meir (1898-1978) Israel Prime Minister Gerta Ries Wiener
1979 Levi Strauss (1829-1902) Clothing manufacturer Hal Reed
1980 Dr. Jonas Salk (1914-1995) Developer of Polio vaccine Hal Reed
1981 Rebecca Gratz (1781-1869) Educator, philanthropist Gerta Ries Wiener
1982 Isaac Stern (1920-2001) Violin virtuoso Gerta Ries Wiener
1983 Emma Lazarus (1849-1887) “Statue of Liberty” poet Gerta Ries Wiener
1984 Isaac B. Singer (1904-1991) Nobel laureate Yiddish writer Robert Russin
1985 Adolph Ochs (1858-1935) NY Times publisher Gerta Ries Wiener
1986 Abravanel, Zacuto, Santangel Jews who helped Columbus Paul Vincze
1987 Benjamin Cardozo (1870-1938) Supreme Court Justice Gerta Ries Wiener
1988 Uriah P. Levy (1792-1862) Commodore U.S. Navy Hal Reed
1989 Benny Goodman (1909-1966) Clarinetist, “King of Swing” Marika Somogyi
1990 Dr. Bela Schick (1877-1967) Developed test for diphtheria Gerta Ries Wiener
1991 Hank Greenberg (1911-1986) Baseball Hall of Famer Hal Reed
1992 Columbus , Torres (1492) Expulsion of Jews Paul Vincze
1993 Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) Conductor, composer, teacher Marika Somogyi
1994 Ernestine Rose (1810-1892) Advocate for women’s rights Gerta Ries Wiener
1995 Elie Wiesel (b. 1928) Writer, lecturer, humanitarian Alex Shagin
1996 Houdini (1874-1926) Magician, escape artist Hal Reed
1997 Barbra Streisand (b. 1942) Singer, actress, director Alex Shagin
1998 Strauses , Sarnoff (1912) Heroes of Titanic tragedy Alex Shagin
1999 Asser Levy (1654) First Jews in America Alex Shagin
2000 Arthur Miller (1915-2005) Playwright, author Marika Somogyi
2001 Bess Myerson (b. 1924) Miss America, public servant Alex Shagin
2002 Leopold Karpeles (1838-1909) Medal of Honor recipient Alex Shagin
2003/4 Gompers (1850-1924) & Hillman (1887-1946) Labor leaders Karen Worth
2005 “Rosie” Rosenthal (1917-2007) World War II Flying “Ace” Jim Licaretz
2006 Moe Berg (1902-1972) Major League catcher, American spy Eugene Daub
2007 Lillian Wald (1867-1940) Founder Visiting Nurse Service Virginia Janssen
2008 Milton Berle (1908-2002) "Mr. Television," comedian Eugene Daub
2009 40th Anniversary JAHF Founder Mel Wacks’ 70th birthday Eugene Daub
2010 Barney Ross (1909-1967) Boxing champion, war hero Eugene Daub
2011 Dr. Gertrude Elion (1918-1999) Nobel Prize in Medicine winner Daniel Altshuler
2012 Mordecai Noah (1785-1851) Publisher, public servant, Zionist Eugene Daub
2013 To be announced To be announced To be announced
2014 To be announced To be announced To be announced
2015 To be announced To be announced To be announced
2016 To be announced To be announced To be announced
2017 To be announced To be announced To be announced
2018 To be announced To be announced To be announced
2019 To be announced To be announced To be announced

Plaques

A permanent exhibit of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame plaques was inaugurated at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Virginia, in 2010.

The First American Jewish Medal

After extensive research, Mel Wacks has concluded that (1) the die for the first American Jewish medal, commemorating Gershom Mendes Seixas, was not made in 1816 as previously supposed; it existed as early as February 7, 1812. (2) There is no reason to assume that the die was commissioned by Columbia or even that the medal in the Columbia Archives was made by Columbia. (3) And lastly, the silver “shell” medal in the Columbia archives was engraved after the death of Gershom Mendes Seixas on July 2, 1816 on a medal that was made sometime c. 1812 – 1816.

Harry Flower Collection of Albert Einstein Medals

Harry Flower amassed a large collection of medals from around the world, honoring Albert Einstein. These can be viewed by country of origin.

Related Wikicollecting articles

Main article: Tokens and Medals

See also

Jewish-American Hall of Fame web site
Exhibit of Jewish-American Hall of Fame plaques at the Virginia Holocaust Museum
Harry Flower Collection of Albert Einstein Medals
First American Jewish Medal

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