Chelst/Schreiber/Zwas Book Grants Awarded

The Drs. Kenneth Chelst, Bertram Schreiber and Fred Zwas Book Grant is designed to foster scholarship among the faculty of Yeshiva College by facilitating the publication of scholarly books and enabling faculty to pursue research, engage in collaborative consultations and seek support for editing and publishing their manuscripts.

The grants for 2022-2023 went to Dr. Jeffrey Gurock, Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History, for Marty Glickman: The Quests of an American Jewish Sports Legend (NYU Press, forthcoming) and Dr. Ran Shao, associate professor of economics, for a study of how individual investors adjust equity investments.

Chelst Schreiber Zwas Book
Marty Glickman

As Dr. Gurock notes, Marty Glickman was the voice of New York sports for close to half a century after World War II, from the 1940s through the 1990s. “His distinctive style of broadcasting, on television and especially on the radio,” he points out, “garnered for him legions of fans that would not miss his play-by-play accounts.” He inspired and mentored many of the contemporary professional announcers and described himself  “as much a New Yorker as a New Yorker can be.”

Notwithstanding his achievements and plaudits, Dr. Gurock believes that there was an anger and sadness within his being that haunted him up until his death in 2001, the result of being snubbed as an 18-year-old track star during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Nazi Germany. “As Glickman grew older, he recounted in his autobiography, a documentary film and innumerable interviews,” Dr. Gurock explains, “the humiliation he felt when American Olympic officials kept him from competing in one of the signature track event in the Berlin games so as ’not to embarrass Hitler’ with the sight of a Jew on the victory stand.”

Though Glickman did not speak out frequently and extensively about that painful rebuff at the moment of attack, beginning in the 1980s, he was called upon repeatedly to metaphorically and actually return to Berlin, during which he became aware of his place as a Jewish historical figure, though at no point did he truly contemplate how much more significance there was to his life as a 20th-century American Jew. As Dr. Gurock explains,

This book  in progress will do just that. Rooted within an understanding of the sweep of that century’s American Jewish narrative, it takes his experiences to “the next level,” to borrow a sports phrase that Glickman might have used.

A new deep dive into so much of what has been written about him, said about him among his friends and family as well as the multiple times he reminisced about himself, not to mention a more than half century of media coverage of his trials and triumphs, this book speaks to a Jewish life of challenge, frustration and achievements. It places in high relief the quests for professional success and social acceptance first as an athlete and then as a sports personality—above and beyond what was done to him during the Berlin games—amid prejudice and cultural barriers that were common to thousands, if not millions, of fellow Jews of his generation as they strove to advance in America.

This study reemphasizes the truth that the scholarly historical exploration of the sports experience has always been more than who won or lost but more crucially whether a striving participant is allowed to play the games.

Publication is slated for July 2023.

Dr. Ran Shao

Dr. Shao is interested in looking at how investors respond when confronted with an enormous shock to the economic system, like the one from November 2007 to December 2008, when world equity markets lost $32.2 trillion, more than half of its initial value. “The extent of the crisis was unlike anything investors had previously faced,” said Dr. Shao. “This new environment created a unique opportunity to analyze the behavior of individual investors in unfamiliar and highly disconcerting circumstances.”

For instance, in such extreme cases, do investors liquidate their equity portfolios? Does the trading behavior of individual investors play a role in worsening the crisis? (Individual investors, mostly classified as noise traders, often trade for non-informational reasons and their trading is often characterized as destabilizing stock prices.) Do institutional investors, usually considered to be “rational” or “informed” traders, exert a correcting force on stock prices? (A number of studies cast doubt on the notion that sophisticated investors stabilize market prices.)

Dr. Shao’s study aims to provide direct evidence on how individual investors adjusted their stock holdings, in terms of net flows and portfolio characteristics, during the current financial crisis. Access to detailed individual trading accounts will allow him to identify for the first time the significant drivers of the trading behavior of individual investors and the heterogeneity of individual trading decisions.