Local Professor Garners Jewish Book Award



David B. Ruderman, director of the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, has won a National Jewish Book Award for "Early Modern Jewry: A New Cultural History," published by Princeton University Press.

Ruderman, who also teaches Modern Jewish History at UPenn, won in the category of History. The 2010 awards, announced Tuesday, are given out annually by the Jewish Book Council to honor the best in American Jewish writing.

Cynthia Ozick, a novelist and essayist, won a Lifetime Achievement Award for her many works of fiction and criticism.

Gal Beckerman, a journalist, was honored with the Everett Family Foundation Jewish Book of the Year Award for "When They Come For Us, We'll Be Gone: the Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry," his account of efforts to obtain freedom for Jews in the former Soviet Union.

Philanthropist Harold Grinspoon won a special IMPACT award for creating the PJ Library Program, which provides nearly 70,000 Jewish children's books free each month to families with young children.

Other winners include: "The Rebbe: The Life and Afterlife of Menachem Mendel Schneerson," by Samuel Heilman and Menachem Friedman, which took top honors in the American Jewish Studies category; Martin Fletcher's "Walking Israel" in the Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice category; and David Grossman for Fiction for his translated novel "To the End of the Land."

Also, Ruth Harris won the Biography award for "Dreyfus: Politics, Emotion and the Scandal of the Century"' and the team of Isa Aron, Steven M. Cohen, Lawrence Hoffman and Ari Kelman were recognized in the Education and Jewish Identity field for "Sacred Strategies: Transforming Synagogues from Functional to Visionary."

The best Anthology and Collections entrant was "The Cambridge Guide to Jewish History, Religion and Culture," edited by Judith Baskin and Kenneth Seeskin.


Hillel Halkin's look at "Yehuda Halevi" won for Sephardic Culture, and Pauline Wengeroff was honored in the Women's Studies category for "Memoirs of a Grandmother: Scenes from the Cultural History of the Jews of Russia in the Nineteenth Century, vol. one."

The awards will be presented March 9 in New York. A complete list of finalists is available here.

The Jewish Book Council has been giving out the National Jewish Book Awards since 1948.



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