2014 National Jewish Book Award Winners and Finalists

Jewish Book of the Year 

Everett Family Foundation Award

Jewish Book Council has bestowed the honor of 2014 Jewish Book of the Year upon a series for the first time in its history. The decision to honor Yale University Press's Jewish Lives series, a series which illuminates the lives of great figures in Jewish history, came four years into its publication in recognition of its achievements thus far and its forthcoming contributions for years to come. JBC seeks to highlight and applaud the publisher, Yale University Press in collaboration with the Leon D. Black Foundation, for taking on this important task as well as show support for the endeavor and continue to nurture an audience for works that share the stories and people behind our collective history.

Yale University Press's Jewish Lives Series

​Ileene Smith, editorial director
Steven J. Zipperstein and Anita Shapira, series editor​s

American Jewish Studies

Celebrate 350 Award

Winner:

The Rag Race: How Jews Sewed Their Way to Success in America and the British Empire
Adam D. Mendelsohn
NYU Press

Finalist:

After They Closed the Gates: Jewish Illegal Immigration to the United States, 1921-1965
Libby Garland
The University of Chicago Press

Biography, Autobiography, Memoir

The Krauss Family Award in Memory of Simon & Shulamith (Sofi) Goldberg

Winner:

The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World
George Prochnik
Other Press

Finalists:

Little Failure: A Memoir
Gary Shteyngart
Random House

Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History
Joseph Telushkin
HarperWave

David: The Divided Heart
David Wolpe
Yale University Press

Children’s and Young Adult Literature


Winner:

Spinoza: The Outcast Thinker
Devra Lehmann
Namelos

Finalists:

Storm
Donna Jo Napoli
Simon and Schuster

Tucson Jo
Carol Matas
Fictive Press

I Lived on Butterfly Hill
Marjorie Agosin; Lee White, illus.
Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice

Myra H. Kraft Memorial Award

Winner:

A Guide to the Complex: Contemporary Halakhic Debates
Shlomo M. Brody
Maggid

Finalists:

Maps and Meaning: Levitical Models for Contemporary Care
Nancy H. Wiener and Jo Hirschmann
Fortress Press

The December Project: An Extraordinary Rabbi and a Skeptical Seeker Confront Life's Greatest Mystery
Sara Davidson
HarperOne

The Soul of Jewish Social Justice
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz
Urim Publications

Education and Jewish Identity

In Memory of Dorothy Kripke


Winner:

A Philosophy of Havruta: Understanding and Teaching the Art of Text Study in Pairs
Elie Holzer with Orit Kent
Academic Studies Press

Fiction

JJ Greenberg Memorial Award

Winner:

The Betrayers
David Bezmozgis
Little, Brown and Company

Finalists:

The UnAmericans
Molly Antopol
W.W. Norton & Company

The Luminous Heart of Jonah S.
Gina B. Nahai
Akashic Books

A Replacement Life
Boris Fishman
HarperCollins

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Joshua Ferris
Little, Brown and Company

History

Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial Award

Winner:

The Golden Age Shtetl: A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe
Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern
Princeton University Press

Finalists:

Herzl's Vision: Theodor Herzl and the Foundation of the Jewish State
Shlomo Avineri; Haim Watzman, trans.
BlueBridge

We Called Him Rabbi Abraham: Lincoln and American Jewry, A Documentary History
Gary Philip Zola
Southern Illinois University Press
Conscripted Slaves: Hungarian Jewish Forced Laborers on the Eastern Front During the Second World War
Robert Rozett
Yad Vashem

Illustrated Children’s Book

Louis Posner Memorial Award

Winner:

The Patchwork Torah
Allison Ofanansky; Elsa Oriol, illus.
Kar-Ben Publishing

Finalists:

Never Say a Mean Word Again: A Tale from Medieval Spain
Jacqueline Jules; Durga Yael Bernhard, illus.
Wisdom Tales

The Whispering Town
Jennifer Elvgren; Fabio Santomauro, illus.
Kar-Ben Publishing

Modern Jewish Thought and Experience

Dorot Foundation Award in Memory of Joy Ungerleider Mayerson

Winner:

The Koren Ani Tefillah Siddur
Rabbi Jay Goldmintz, concept and commentary
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, introduction and translation
Koren Publishers Jerusalem

Finalists:


On the Relationship of Mitzvot Between Man and His Neighbor and Man and His Maker
Daniel Sperber
Urim Publications

Maps and Meaning: Levitical Models for Contemporary Care
Nancy H. Wiener and Jo Hirschmann
Fortress Press

Israel: Is It Good for the Jews?
Richard Cohen
Simon & Schuster

Outstanding Debut Fiction

Foundation for Jewish Culture’s Goldberg Prize

Winner:

The Mathematician's Shiva
Stuart Rojstaczer
Penguin Books

Finalists:

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street
Susan Jane Gilman
Grand Central Publishing

The Marrying of Chani Kaufman
Eve Harris
Grove Press, Black Cat

The UnAmericans
Molly Antopol
W.W. Norton & Company

You Shall Know Our Names
Ezekiel Nieto Benzion
CreateSpace


Scholarship

Nahum M. Sarna Memorial Award

Winner:

Outside the Bible, 3-Volume Set: Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture
Louis H. Feldman, James L. Kugel and Lawrence H. Schiffman, eds.
Jewish Publication Society

Finalist:

We Called Him Rabbi Abraham: Lincoln and American Jewry, A Documentary History
Gary Philip Zola
Southern Illinois University Press

Sephardic Culture

Mimi S. Frank Award in Memory of Becky Levy

Winner:

Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700–1950
Julia Phillips Cohen and Sarah Abrevaya Stein, eds.
Stanford University Press

Finalists:

The Business of Identity: Jews, Muslims and Economic Life in Medieval Egypt
Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman
Stanford University Press

Mediterranean Enlightenment: Livornese Jews, Tuscan Culture, and Eighteenth-Century Reform
Francesca Bregoli
Stanford University Press

Becoming Ottomans: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era
Julia Phillips Cohen
Oxford University Press


Women’s Studies

Barbara Dobkin Award

Winner:

A Question of Tradition: Women Poets in Yiddish, 1586-1987
Kathryn Hellerstein
Stanford University Press

Finalists:

Practicing Piety in Medieval Ashkenaz: Men, Women, and Everyday Religious Observance
Elisheva Baumgarten
University of Pennsylvania Press

Chapters of the Heart: Jewish Women Sharing the Torah of our Lives
Sue Levi Elwell and Nancy Fuchs Kreimer
Wipf and Stock Publishers

Writing Based on Archival Material

The JDC-Herbert Katzki Award

Winner:

Becoming Ottomans: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era
Julia Phillips Cohen
Oxford University Press

Finalists:

Mediterranean Enlightenment: Livornese Jews, Tuscan Culture, and Eighteenth-Century Reform
Francesca Bregoli
Stanford University Press

Jewish Rights, National Rites: Nationalism and Autonomy in Late Imperial and Revolutionary Russia
Simon Rabinovitch
Stanford University Press