About Us -- Chronology
Time Period
Major Accomplishments

Jewish-American Hall of Fame Chronology

  • 1978: Golda Meir (by Gerta Wiener) is first living person (it was her 80th birthday) inducted into the Jewish-American Hall of Fame. Coincidentally it was also Gerta's 80th birthday!
    Special Issue: Mel Wacks designs counterstamped Peace Dollars commemorating Camp David Peace Accord; receives "thank you" notes from President Carter ("It will be placed in the National Archives"), President Sadat ("Highly appreciating your noble sentiments"), and Prime Minister Begin ("Your kind gesture is deeply appreciated"). All 1,000 pieces sell out.
    Click here to see the Camp David Peace Dollar and all of the other counterstamped coins designed by Mel Wacks.
  • 1979: Levi Strauss & Co. assists in creation of Strauss medal (by Hal Reed); also gives Jewish-American Hall of Fame booklets to include with each medal.
  • 1980: Artist Hal Reed and Mel Wacks meet personally with Jonas Salk. Stories about the Salk medal appear in numerous American publications, and as far away as the Scandinavian Coin Collectors Magazine.
  • 1981: Hebrew Sunday School Society (Philadelphia) orders medals of their founder, Rebecca Gratz, designed by Gerta Wiener.

    Medallists Gerta Ries Wiener (l.) and Jacques Schnier (r.) join with Jewish-American Hall of Fame Director Mel Wacks at opening of exhibit at Magnes Museum. Ceremony at Magnes Museum accompanies mounting of all large Jewish-American Hall of Fame plaques.

  • 1982: Isaac Stern medal by Ms. Wiener receives extensive publicity, including an article in the New York Times, calling the portrait "remarkable."
  • 1983: Emma Lazarus medal, again by Wiener, issued on 100th anniversary of her famous poem, "The New Colossus."
  • 1984: Isaac Bashevis Singer is first honoree to pose personally for our artist (Robert Russin). Singer also personally supplies Yiddish quote for medal's reverse: "Free will is life's essence." Mel Wacks presented medal to Teddy Kollek who wrote: "Thank you very much for the beautiful medal of Bashevis Singer and even in Yiddish."
  • 1985: The New York Times supplies photos to help Gerta Wiener create Adolph Ochs medal; they also purchase a quantity.
  • 1986: Special medal by Paul Vincze honors the Jews Who Helped Columbus - Abravanel, Santangel and Zacuto. Issued on the 500th anniversary of Columbus' first meeting with Queen Isabella. Medal is illustrated in "The Jewish Calendar 5752 (1991-1992) by Sharon and Michael Strassfeld.
  • 1987: Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University purchases a quantity of Cardozo medal by Gerta Wiener. Curator of the Supreme Court of the United States writes, "It is a very nice medal and one we'll be proud to have in our collection."
    Mel Wacks presents lecture at the XXI Congress of Federation Internationale de la Medaille (Colorado Springs): "The Magnes Museum's Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medal Series - The First Two Decades," which is subsequently published in the proceedings.

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