2015 National Jewish Book Award Winners and Finalists


Read the press release here.

Jewish Book of the Year 

Everett Family Foundation Award

Winner:

Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle For Israel, 1917-1947
Bruce Hoffman
Knopf

JBC Literary Achievement Award

Ann Goldstein

Ann Goldsteinis the editor of the three-volume Complete Works of Primo Levi (Liveright Publishing), which includes not only seminal works like If This Is a Man, Levi’s haunting account of Auschwitz, and the autobiographical The Periodic Table but all fourteen of his books—memoirs, essays, poetry, commentary, and fiction. Ms. Goldstein has been working as a translator from Italian for more than twenty years and has translated works by, among others, Elena Ferrante, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Giacomo Leopardi. She has been the recipient of a PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and awards from the Italian Foreign Ministry and from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Ms. Goldstein is an editor at The New Yorker, where she has worked with such writers as John Updike, Roger Angell, Janet Malcolm, and Adam Gopnik. 
 

American Jewish Studies

Celebrate 350 Award

Winner:

Beyond Sectarianism: The Realignment of American Orthodox Judaism
Adam S. Ferziger
Wayne State University Press

Finalists:

Roads Taken: The Great Jewish Migrations to the New World and the Peddlers Who Forged the Way
Hasia R. Diner
Yale University Press

Young Lions: How Jewish Authors Reinvented the American War Novel
Leah Garrett
Northwestern University Press

Lincoln and the Jews: A History
Jonathan D. Sarna and Benjamin Shapell
Thomas Dunne Books


Anthologies and Collections

Winner:

Dear Mendl, Dear Reyzl: Yiddish Letter Manuals from Russian and America
Alice Nakhimovsky and Roberta Newman
Indiana University Press

Finalists:

The Literature of the Holocaust
Alan Rosen, ed.
Cambridge University Press

The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction
Victoria Aarons, Avinoam J. Patt, and Mark Shechner
Wayne State University Press


Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir



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


Winner:

After the Holocaust the Bells Still Ring
Joseph Polak; Elie Wiesel, fwd.
Urim Publications

Finalists:

A Brief Stop on the Road From Auschwitz
Goran Rosenberg; Sarah Death, trans.
Other Press

The Seven Good Years: A Memoir
Etgar Keret
Riverhead Books

Children's Literature


Winner:

Oskar and the Eight Blessings
Tanya Simon and Richard Simon; Mark Siegel, illus.
Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan

Finalists:

Farmer Kobi's Hanukkah Match
Karen Rostoker-Gruber and Rabbi Ron Isaacs; CB Decker, illus.
Apples and Honey Press

Adam and Thomas
Aharon Appelfeld; Philippe Dumas, illus.; Jeffrey Green, trans.
Triangle Square

The Safest Lie
Angela Cerrito
Holiday House

Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice

Myra H. Kraft Memorial Award

Winner:

All Who Go Do Not Return: A Memoir
Shulem Deen
Graywolf Press

Finalists:

Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought
Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff and Dr. Laurie Zoloth, eds.
The Jewish Publication Society

Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience and Spirit
Rachel Cowan and Linda Thal
Behrman House Publishing


Debut Fiction

Goldberg Prize

Winner:

The Boatmaker
John Benditt
Tin House Books

Finalists:

After Abel and Other Stories
Michal Lemberger
Prospect Park Books

The Empire of the Senses: A Novel
Alexis Landau
Pantheon


Education and Jewish Identity



In Memory of Dorothy Kripke


Winner:

Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli
Ted Merwin
NYU Press

Fiction

JJ Greenberg Memorial Award

Winner:

The Last Flight of Poxl West: A Novel
Daniel Torday
St. Martin's Press

Finalists:

The Ambassador
Yehuda Avner and Matt Rees
Koren Publishers / Maggid Books / The Toby Press

The Book of Aron: A Novel
Jim Shepard
Knopf

A Reunion of Ghosts: A Novel
Judith Claire Mitchell
Harper

The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah
St. Martin's Press

History

Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial Award

Winner:

Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama
Dennis Ross
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Finalist:

Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel
Dan Ephron
W. W. Norton & Company

Holocaust

Winner:

The Crime and the Silence: Confronting the Massacre of Jews in Wartime Jedwabne
Anna Bikont; Alissa Valles, trans.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Finalists:

KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps
Nikolaus Wachsmann
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Jewish Honor Courts: Revenge, Retribution, and Reconciliation in Europe and Israel after the Holocaust
Laura Jockusch and Gabriel N. Finder, eds.
Wayne State University Press

Modern Jewish Thought and Experience

Dorot Foundation Award in Memory of Joy Ungerleider Mayerson

Winner:

Not In God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Schocken Books

Finalists:


The Secret of Chabad: Inside the World's Most Successful Jewish Movement
David Eliezrie
Koren Publishers / Maggid Books / The Toby Press

The Grammar of God: A Journey into the Words and Worlds of the Bible
Aviya Kushner
Spiegel & Grau

Leaving the Jewish Fold: Conversation and Radical Assimilation in Modern Jewish History
Todd M. Endelman
Princeton University Press

Poetry


Winner:

Gabriel: A Poem
Edward Hirsch
Knopf

Finalists:

The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards: Poems
Rachel Mennies
Texas Tech University Press

The Invention of Influence

Peter Cole
New Directions

In the Illuminated Dark: Selected Poems of Tuvia Ruebner

Tuvia Ruebner; Rachel Tzvia Back, trans.
Hebrew Union College Press

Scholarship

Nahum M. Sarna Memorial Award

Winner:

What's Divine About Divine Law? Early Perspectives
Christine Hayes
Princeton University Press

Finalists:

Rabbis, Sorcerers, Kings, and Priests: The Culture of the Talmud in Ancient Iran
Jason Sion Mokhtarian
University of California Press

Revelation and Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Tradition
Benjamin S. Sommer
Yale University Press

Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts
Marc Michael Epstein, ed.
Princeton University Press

Sephardic Culture

Mimi S. Frank Award in Memory of Becky Levy

Winner:

Double Diaspora in Sephardic Literature: Jewish Cultural Production Before and After 1492
David A. Wacks
Indiana University Press

Finalist:

Jews and Islamic Law in Early 20th Century Yemen
Mark S. Wagner
Indiana University Press


Visual Arts



Winner:

Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts
Marc Michael Epstein, ed.
Princeton University Press

Finalists:

Ben Shahn's New Deal Murals: Jewish Identity in the American Scene
Diana L. Linden
Wayne State University Press

The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film
Susan Tumarkin Goodman, Jens Hoffmann, Alexander Lavrentiev
The Jewish Museum / Yale University Press

Roman Vishniac Rediscovered
Maya Benton
International Center of Photography / DelMonico Books•Prestel


Women’s Studies

Barbara Dobkin Award

Winner:

Birth, Sex and Abuse: Women's Voices Under Nazi Rule
Beverley Chalmers
Grosvenor House Publishers

Writing Based on Archival Material

The JDC-Herbert Katzki Award

Winner:

The Burdens of Brotherhood: Jews and Muslims from North Africa to France
Ethan B. Katz
Harvard University Press

Finalist:

The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust
Lisa Moses Leff
Oxford University Press

Young Adult

The Posner Award

Winner:

The Hired Girl
Laura Amy Schlitz
Candlewick

Finalists:

Somewhere There Is Still a Sun: A Memoir of the Holocaust
Michael Gruenbaum with Todd Hasak-Lowy
Aladdin

Audacity
Melanie Crowder
Philomel Books

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke
Anne Blankman
Balzer + Bray