2012 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature Finalists
Jewish Book Council Announces Finalists for
$100,000 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature
$100,000 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature
NEW YORK, NY – The Jewish Book Council today announced the five finalists for the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, which recognizes the important role of emerging writers in examining the Jewish experience. The $100,000 award has been given annually since 2007 and considers works of fiction and non-fiction in alternating years. This year’s nominees are for non-fiction and they are: Gal Beckerman, Jonathan B. Krasner, James Loeffler, Ruth Franklin, and Abigail Green.
The winner of the Sami Rohr Prize will be announced on February 15, 2012 and will be honored at an awards ceremony in Israel on April 11, 2012. The runner up will receive a $25,000 prize.
Last year’s Sami Rohr prize was awarded to Austin Ratner for his novel, The Jump Artist. The prize, according to Ratner, was ” the turning point in my career as a writer--my lucky break. Since winning last year I have sold a second novel to Little Brown and new editions of The Jump Artist are forthcoming in England and in France. It's a different world for me.”
In making their selections this year, the award’s independent panel of judges brings attention to five masterful works of scholarship, written by emerging authors who seek to add to our knowledge and understanding of Jewish history and culture. Below are the 2012 finalists, in no particular order, along with an excerpt from the judges’ citations:
Gal Beckerman, author of When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
“A comprehensive, balanced and enthralling book on the history of the Soviet Jewry movement.”
Jonathan B. Krasner, author of The Benderly Boys and American Jewish Education (Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England)
“The best book on the history of Jewish education in the United States to have appeared in several decades.”
James Loeffler, author of The Most Musical Nation: Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire (Yale University Press)
“A treasure trove of music, music history and general cultural materials that will help us understand what would have otherwise been only more buried evidence of the rich Jewish past in the age of the killers and tyrants.”
Ruth Franklin, author of A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction (Oxford University Press)
“An important, insightful, and perceptive book about Holocaust memoirs.”
Abigail Green, author of Moses Montefiore: Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero (Harvard University Press)
“This monumental biography of Montefiore provides a fascinating and comprehensive glimpse into the life and times of an amazing man.”
Biographical information about each finalist follows below.
Finalists for the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature
Gal Beckerman is nominated for his first book, When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry, which was awarded the 2010 National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Book of the Year. He is an opinion editor at The Forward and has written for The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal, among other publications. He was recently a Fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Berlin and lives in Brooklyn.
Jonathan B. Krasner is an Associate Professor of the American Jewish Experience at Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. He is nominated for his book The Benderly Boys and American Jewish Education, which just won the 2011 National Jewish Book Award in the category of American Jewish Studies. His work has appeared in many academic journals and anthologies. He lives with his family in Andover, Massachusetts.
James Loeffler, an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia, is nominated for his first book, The Most Musical Nation: Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire. He works broadly on the intersection of Jewish culture, politics, and identity in modern Eastern Europe, Israel, and the United States. He has published extensively in the field of Jewish musical studies, with a specialization in the history of Jewish folk and classical music traditions in Eastern Europe. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Ruth Franklin, a literary critic and a senior editor at The New Republic, is nominated for her first book, A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction. Her writing also appears in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, and other publications. She lives in Brooklyn.
Abigail Green is Tutor and Fellow in History at Brasenose College, University of Oxford. She is nominated for Moses Montefiore: Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero, which was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist, a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year 2010 and a New Republic Best Book of 2010. Her first book Fatherlands: State-Building and Nationhood in Nineteenth Century Germany, was shortlisted in Das Historisches Buch 2002. She lives in Oxford, England.
The Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature was established in 2006 by the family of Sami Rohr in honor of his lifelong love of Jewish writing. In conjunction with this award, the Rohr family has established the Sami Rohr Jewish Literary Institute, a forum devoted to the continuity of Jewish literature.