2018-2019 Filler Award Winners

Yoav Margalit

Yoav Margalit looks to both philosophy and Jewish studies as a way to understand things. But learning about Judaism is, like philosophy, so much more than just learning about one thing. Yoav has learned about other perspectives that he never would have considered otherwise.  Humanity gives its members names and titles. Who does it obligate me to be, if I am called a son? What does it mean for me to be a man when society names me male? And when I live as a Jew, what does it mean to be Jewish?

Taking classes in the Jewish Studies program at the University of Illinois teaches something of both what Judaism has meant over the years and what it means today. Yoav appreciates the rich insight that the program has given him.

Candace Grossman

Candace Grossman earned a Bachelor’s in Economics and a minor in Jewish studies. She completed coursework in the history of anti-Semitism, Soviet Jewish history, the Holocaust in context, and medieval Jewish philosophy. Her studies have focused on European Jewry She hopes to find a job that gets the best of both worlds, combining her educational background in economics, critical thinking skills, and social understanding of being an outsider. Her goal is to work helping charities to help communities, especially children, who have face hardship and struggles in their lives.


Previous Filler Award Winners

Aria Tsoulouhas will be attending Yale Divinity School this fall to study Second-Temple Judaism, an opportunity for which I am infinitely grateful. My majors in Jewish Studies and Classics made this a natural decision, burgeoned by the excellent professors and invaluable experiences I have had at the U of I. I look forward to the future, and most of all to refining my language skills and research interests under the guidance of giants in the field.

Congratulations Aria!




Filler Award winner and Jewish Studies Minor Joshua Altshuler is graduating (congratulations!!!) and will be joining the Institute for Southern Jewish Life. Here is what Joshua says:

As an Education Fellow for the Institute for Southern Jewish Life, I will be traveling to synagogues throughout the south to develop social programming, advance ritual life, and implement the organization's educational curriculum. ISJL Fellows are offered the valuable opportunity to intimately shape how communities, particularly children and young adults, practice and find meaning in their Jewish identity.


Meirav Malter

I will be making Aliyah (moving to Israel) this summer (2018) and pursuing my Masters degree in government with a concentration in diplomacy and conflict studies at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), in Herzliya. I am excited to continue learning about the complexities of the Middle East from expert faculty at the IDC and from leading practitioners in the field. I will also begin working as an intelligence analyst for MAX Security Solutions in Tel Aviv. I will produce research reports on current events and geopolitical developments across the Middle East for business clients that have business activities in the region. My experience at UIUC and studying abroad at Tel Aviv University have prepared me well for these next challenges and for starting my career in Israel. 

Meirav is pictured here with Ron Filler at the Filler Award Ceremony.