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National Jewish Books Prizes Announced

January 18, 2013
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The National Jewish Book Awards for 2012 were announced earlier this week.
 
Novelist Francesca Segal is the recipient in fiction for The Innocents, published by Hyperion. The novel, which takes its inspiration from Edith Wharton’s classic Age of Innocence, examines the behaviors and beliefs of an Orthodox Jewish community in London.
 
Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz is the winner of the nonfiction award in Modern Jewish Thought and Experience for Koren Talmud Bavli, a groundbreaking new edition of the Talmud.
 
Nobel Prize-winning neuro­psychiatrist Professor Eric R. Kandel is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the author of such books as In Search of Memory and The Age of Insight. Kandel’s early memories of being young and Jewish in Austria at the start of World War II served as the catalyst for In Search of Memory, his award-winning exploration of the life of the mind.
 
Two winners with past ties to Philadelphia are Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi, who with Joel Segel, won for Davening: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Prayer. In the Illustrated Children’s Book category, Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, who got her rabbinic degree from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, along with Joani Keller Rothenberg, illustrator, won for Shema in the Mezuzah: Listening to Each Other.
 
The winners will be honored on March 14, 2013 at a gala awards ceremony at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan. The ceremony, which begins at 8:00 pm, is free and open to the public. Kandel will be the keynote speaker at the awards event.
 
A complete listing of winners and finalists follows below:
 
Lifetime Achievement Award
Eric R. Kandel is the author of In Search of Memory and a recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons.
 
Jewish Book of the Year Award
Everett Family Foundation
City of Promises: A History of the Jews of New York
With a Visual Essay by Diana L. Linden
Howard B. Rock, Annie Polland and Daniel Soyer, Jeffrey S. Gurock Deborah Dash Moore, ed.
New York University Press
 
American Jewish Studies
Celebrate 350 Award Winner:
Messianism, Secrecy and Mysticism: A New Interpretation of Early American Jewish Life
Laura Arnold Leibman
Vallentine Mitchell Publishers
 
Finalists:
When General Grant Expelled the Jews
Jonathan D. Sarna
Schocken
 
Sundays at Sinai: A Jewish Congregation in Chicago
Tobias Brinkmann
University of Chicago Press
 
Anthologies and Collections
Winner:
Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame
Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy, eds.
Twelve Books
 
Finalists:
Science in Medieval Jewish Cultures
Gad Freudenthal, ed.
Cambridge University Press
 
I’ll Seize the Day Tomorrow
Jonathan Goldstein
Penguin Canada
 
Jewish Theology and World Religions
Alon Goshen-Gottstein and Eugene Korn, eds.
The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization
 
Biography, Autobiography, Memoir
The Krauss Family Award in Memory of Simon & Shulamith (Sofi) Goldberg
Winner:
Howard Fast: Life and Literature in the Left Lane
Gerald Sorin
Indiana University Press
 
Finalists:
Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders
Joy Ladin
University of Wisconsin Press
 
Menachem Begin: A Life
Avi Shilon; Danielle Zilberberg and Yoram Sharett, trans.
Yale University Press
 
Children’s and Young Adult Literature
Winner:
Meet at the Ark at Eight
Ulrich Hub; Jörg Mühle, illus.
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
 
Finalists:
Rescuing the Children
Deborah Hodge
Tundra Books
 
When the Hurricane Came
Nechama Liss-Levinson
CreateSpace
 
Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice
Myra H. Kraft Memorial Award
Winner:
Davening: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Prayer
Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi with Joel Segel; Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, fwd.
Jewish Lights Publishing
 
Finalists:
Paths of Torah: An Anthology of Torah Commentary
Members of Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, Calif.
Congregation Netivot Shalom
 
Education and Jewish Identity
Winner:
Development, Learning, and Community: Educating for Identity in Pluralistic Jewish High Schools
Jeffrey S. Kress
Academic Studies Press
 
Finalists:
Make Yourself a Teacher: Rabbinic Tales of Mentors and Disciples
Susan Handelman
University of Washington Press
 
Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning
Goldie Milgram and Ellen Frankel, eds.
Reclaiming Judaism Press
 
Esau's Blessing: How the Bible Embraces Those with Special Needs
Ora Horn Prouser
Ben Yehuda Press
 
Fiction
JJ Greenberg Memorial Award
Winner:
The Innocents
Francesca Segal
Hyperion
 
Finalists:
The World Without You
Joshua Henkin
Pantheon Books
 
The Lawgiver: A Novel
Herman Wouk
Simon & Schuster
 
Rav Hisda’s Daughter
Maggie Anton
Plume Books/Penguin
 
History
Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial Award
Winner:
Israel: A History
Anita Shapira
Hadassah Brandeis Institute, University Press of New England
 
Finalists:
The First Modern Jew: Spinoza and the History of an Image
Daniel B. Schwartz Princeton University Press
 
On the Eve: The Jews of Europe Before the Second World War
Bernard Wasserstein
Simon & Schuster
 
Einstein's Jewish Science: Physics at the Intersection of Politics and Religion
Steven Gimbel
Johns Hopkins University Press
 
Holocaust
Winner:
Collect and Record!: Jewish Holocaust Documentation in Early Postwar Europe
Laura Jockusch
Oxford University Press
 
Finalists:
At the Edge of the Abyss: A Concentration Camp Diary, 1943-1944
David Koker; Robert Jan von Pelt, ed.; Michiel Horn and John Irons, trans.
Northwestern University Press
 
Isaac's Army: A Story of Courage and Survival in Nazi-Occupied Poland
Matthew Brzezinski
Random House
 
Illustrated Children’s Book
Louis Posner Memorial Award
Winner:
The Shema in the Mezuzah: Listening to Each Other
Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso; Joani Keller Rothenberg, illus.
Jewish Lights Publishing
 
Finalists:
The Schmutzy Family
Madelyn Rosenberg; Paul Meisel, illus.
Holiday House
 
Modern Jewish Thought and Experience
Dorot Foundation Award in Memory of Joy Ungerleider Mayerson
Winner:
Koren Talmud Bavli
Rabbi Adin-Eden Steinsaltz
Koren Publishers Jerusalem
 
Finalists:
The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Schocken
 
Rereading Israel: The Spirit of the Matter
Bonna Devora Haberman
Urim Publications
 
There Was a Fire: Jews, Music and the American Dream
Ben Sidran
Nardis Books/Unlimited Media
 
Outstanding Debut Fiction
Foundation for Jewish Culture’s Goldberg Prize
Winner:
The Sensualist: A Novella
Daniel Torday
Nouvella
 
Finalists:
All That I Am
Anna Funder
HarperCollins
 
Flatscreen
Adam Wilson
Harper Perennial/HarperCollins
 
Scholarship
Nahum M. Sarna Memorial Award
Winner:
The Chosen Few: How Education Shaped Jewish History, 70–1492
Maristella Botticini and Zvi Eckstein
Princeton University Press
 
Finalists:
A Mahzor from Worms: Art and Religion in a Medieval Jewish Community
Katrin Kogman-Appel
Harvard University Press
 
Pledges of Jewish Allegiance: Conversion, Law, and Policymaking in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Orthodox Response
David Ellenson and Daniel Gordis
Stanford University Press
 
The En Yaaqov: Jacob ibn Habib's Search for Faith in the Talmudic Corpus
Marjorie Lehman
Wayne State University Press
 
Sephardic Culture
Mimi S. Frank Award in Memory of Becky Levy
Winner:
Poverty and Welfare Among the Portuguese Jews in Early Modern Amsterdam
Tirtsah Levie Bernfeld
The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization
 
Finalists:
A Jewish Voice from Ottoman Salonica: The Ladino Memoir of Sa’adi Besalel a-Levi
Aron Rodrigue and Sarah Abrevaya Stein, eds.; Isaac Jerusalmi, trans.
Stanford University Press
 
Stella’s Sephardic Table: Jewish Family Recipes from the Island of Rhodes
Stella Cohen; Marc Hoberman, photographer
The Gerald & Marc Hoberman Collection
 
Women’s Studies
Barbara Dobkin Award
Winner:
The Men’s Section: Orthodox Jewish Men in an Egalitarian World
Elana Maryles Sztokman
The Hadassah Brandeis Institute, University Press of New England

Finalist:
Hadassah: American Women Zionists and the Rebirth of Israel
Mira Katzburg-Youngman
The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization
 
Writing Based on Archival Material
The JDC-Herbert Katzki Award
Winner:
The History of the Holocaust in Romania
Jean Ancel; Yaffah Murciano, trans.; Leon Volovici, ed.
University of Nebraska Press and Yad Vashem
 
Finalist:
Emerging Metropolis: New York Jews in the Age of Migration 1840–1920 Annie Polland and Daniel Soyer
New York University Press
 

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