IU Hutton Honors College Student Wins $20,000 Award

Editor’s Note:  The post below is from the Hutton Honors College site.

Indiana University junior and HHC student David Bloom has received the 2013 Palmer-Brandon Prize in the Humanities, one of the most prestigious awards given by the College of Arts and Sciences in Bloomington.

The $20,000 Palmer-Brandon Prize is given annually to outstanding full-time College of Arts and Sciences humanities majors to support their continued academic, scholarly and creative pursuits. Recipients are considered to be in the top 1 percent of undergraduates in their discipline.

“David’s exceptional academic achievement and his passion for languages and religious studies make him a wonderful choice for the Palmer-Brandon Prize in the Humanities,” said Larry Singell, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “He is deeply admired and respected by his teachers and fellow students for his leadership and service in the College, and beyond, while at IU. I look forward to watching him continue to develop as a scholar and an agent of positive change in the world.”

Majoring in French, Jewish studies and religious studies with a minor in Hebrew, Bloom’s research areas include the conception of self in the Hebrew Bible, the Apocrypha, pseudepigrapha and the Dead Sea Scrolls. A native of Louisville, Ky., he intends to become a rabbi.

Bloom credited his interest in his research areas to a course he took his freshman year that examined concepts of death and the afterlife in ancient Judah.

“We’re often trying to reconstruct history from a few sources and ancient texts, and in this class, it was fascinating to see that ancient Israel didn’t exist in a vacuum and had a place in this whole culture of ancient near-Eastern societies,” he said. “To take these texts and resources and look at them and see how they impacted each other made all these wonderful connections. Unpacking that puzzle made it very exciting and spurred my interest.”

Bloom plans to attend Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion where, after a year of study in Jerusalem, he hopes to further his education at the college’s Cincinnati campus. The site is home to one of the world’s best Jewish libraries, he said.

Bloom is founder and editor-in-chief of the Undergraduate Journal of Jewish Studies, the only completely undergraduate-driven peer-reviewed and intercollegiate Jewish studies journal in North America.

He is also president and founder of Interfaith Youth Core’s Better Together Campaign at IU; winner of the 2011-12 Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Merit Scholarship in Jewish Studies; recipient of the 2012-13 Sandra and Stanley Trockman Scholarship for Intellectual Engagements and Accomplishments in Jewish Studies; and a 2013 Founders Scholar.

He received the 2012 Albert and Agnes Kuersteiner Memorial Prize, and received first place in the Bill Gallagher Essay Contest through IU’s Department of Religious Studies in 2013.