2014 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature Finalists

New York, October 7, 2013 - The Jewish Book Council today announced the finalists for the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize for Non-Fiction. The award of $100,000—one of the largest literary prizes in the world—honors emerging writers who articulate the Jewish experience, as determined by a specific work as well as the author’s overall potential to make significant ongoing contributions to Jewish literature. A runner-up is also awarded, with a prize of $25,000.

This year's contenders are being recognized for their achievements in non-fiction. They are:

Sarah Bunin Benor, author of Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism (Rutgers University Press)
Becoming Frum offers a smart and entertaining look at how newcomers learn to be—and sound—Orthodox.

Marni Davis, author of Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition (NYU Press)
In Jews and Booze, the author examines American Jews’ long and complicated relationship to alcohol during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Matti Friedman, author of The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible (Algonquin Books)
The Aleppo Codex is a true-life detective story of a thousand-year-old Hebrew bible.

Nina S. Spiegel, author of Embodying Hebrew Culture: Aesthetics, Athletics, and Dance in the Jewish Community of Mandate Palestine (Wayne State University Press)
Embodying Hebrew Culture details the creation of the Hebrew cultural aesthetic and demonstrates the ways that political and social issues can influence a new society.

Eliyahu Stern, author of The Genius: Elijah of Vilna and the Making of Modern Judaism (Yale University Press)
The Genius offers a new narrative of Jewish modernity based on Elijah's life and influence.

All finalists for the Rohr Prize are instated as fellows in the Sami Rohr Jewish Literary Institute, an annual gathering of Sami Rohr winners, contenders, judges, and advisors. To date, all finalists for the prize have continued on to successful literary careers in both fiction and nonfiction.

Noted philanthropist and businessman Sami Rohr, deceased at 86 in July of 2012, viewed his philanthropy as an investment in the Jewish people. His involvement in charitable efforts matched the attention he devoted to his professional work, and the award established in his name reflects his dedication to Jewish education, culture, and community. "The Prize has taken on added significance since Mr. Rohr’s death, as we are charged with carrying on his magnificent legacy," says Carolyn Starman Hessel, director of the Jewish Book Council.

The Rohr Prize has been given annually since 2007 and considers works of fiction and nonfiction in alternating years.

The winner of the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize will be announced in November 2013. The winner and finalists will be celebrated at a ceremony in Jerusalem on January 21, 2014.