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Griffin Jenkins

Jenkins heashot

The Program in Jewish Culture & Society is extremely pleased to announce that Griffin Jenkins has been awarded the Spring 2016 Ronald H. Filler Jewish Studies scholarship.

"My name is Griffin Jenkins, and I'm originally from Princeton, West Virginia. I am a third year student in linguistics and music, focusing in ASL and Yiddish and organ performance, respectively. During my second year, I decided to study abroad in Auckland, New Zealand. I became fully immersed in Kiwi culture, and found a rich Jewish history in the country. At university, I was focusing on core classes, so upon my return to the U of I, when Yiddish was on offer with Professor Sara Feldman, I knew I had to take it up. 

My journey as a Yiddishist has led me into an unexpected but welcome culture of Yiddish preservationists. My main interest is the preservation of the language through contemporary use, particularly through music. Some of my Yiddish works have included reconstructing and performing a Yiddish aria from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, performing Yiddish folk music on the chimes at Altgeld Hall, and singing Yiddish protest songs in support of the teacher's union. 

Looking to the future, I wish to pursue a career in theatre, and I hope to continue using Yiddish and modern Jewish culture in that avenue."


The Ronald H. Filler Scholarship in Jewish Studies is awarded to a Jewish Studies student each fall and spring semester. The scholarship supports a student who has demonstrated a commitment to Jewish Studies and excelled in relevant coursework. The award in Jewish Studies is one of a number of scholarships that Mr. Filler has created to support students across the campus with a diverse array of interests and strengths. Part of Ronald Filler’s vision when he created the Filler Scholarships at the University of Illinois was to promote excellence, to provide mentorship, and to encourage awardees to make meaningful contributions based on their own strengths and accomplishments. The recipients become part of a network of Filler Scholars who embody this vision and enhance the impact of the awards. Past recipients of the Ronald Filler Scholarship in Jewish Studies have gone on to pursue legal careers, work for Jewish community and philanthropic organizations, and play an active role in their synagogues and communities.

Click here for more information about the Ronald Filler Scholarship in Jewish Studies and past winners.