2017 National Jewish Book Award Winners and Finalists


Download the press release and full list of winners and finalists here.


Jewish Book of the Year 

Everett Family Foundation Award

Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel
Francine Klagsbrun
Schocken Books

Carolyn Starman Hessel Mentorship Award

Gary Rosenblatt 

American Jewish Studies

Celebrate 350 Award

Winner:

Jews on the Frontier: Religion and Mobility in Nineteenth-Century America
Shari Rabin
NYU Press

Finalists:

Who Will Lead Us?: The Story of Five Hasidic Dynasties in America
Samuel Heilman
University of California Press

City on a Hilltop: American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement
Sara Yael Hirschhorn
Harvard University Press

Hollywood’s Spies: The Undercover Surveillance of Nazis in Los Angeles
Laura Rosenzweig
NYU Press


Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir

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

Winner:

The Choice: Embrace the Possible
Dr. Edith Eva Eger
Scribner (Simon & Schuster)

Finalists:

Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court: From Brandeis to Kagan
David G. Dalin
Brandeis University Press


Hayim Nahman Bialik: Poet of Hebrew
Avner Holtzman
Yale University Press


No Room for Small Dreams: Courage, Imagination, and the Making of Modern Israel
Shimon Peres
Custom House, (HarperCollins)


Book Club Award

The Miller Family Award in Memory of Helen Dunn Weinstein and June Keit Miller

Winner:

The Weight of Ink
Rachel Kadish
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Finalists:

On the Sickle's Edge
Neville D. Frankel
Diálogos

Waking Lions
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
(trans. Sondra Silverston)
Little, Brown and Company (Hachette)

We Were the Lucky Ones
Georgia Hunter
Viking

Three Floors Up
Eshkol Nevo
(trans. Sondra Silverston)
Other Press

Children's Literature


Winner:

The Language of Angels: A Story About the Reinvention of Hebrew
Richard Michelson; Karla Gudeon, illus.
Charlesbridge Publishing

Finalist:

Lucky Broken Girl
Ruth Behar
Nancy Paulsen Books

Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice

Myra H. Kraft Memorial Award

Winner:

The Torah of Music
Joey Weisenberg, with translations by Joshua Schwartz
Hadar Press

Finalists:

The Wisdom of Not Knowing: Discovering a Life of Wonder by Embracing Uncertainty
Estelle Frankel
Shambhala Publications, Inc.

My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew
Abigail Pogrebin
Fig Tree Books LLC

Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory
Elizabeth Rosner
Counterpoint Press


Debut Fiction

Goldberg Prize

Winner:

Barren Island
Carol Zoref
New Issues Poetry & Prose/Western Michigan University

Finalists:

What to Do About the Solomons
Bethany Ball
Grove/Atlantic

Viva, Rose!
Susan Krawitz
Holiday House

Education and Jewish Identity

In Memory of Dorothy Kripke


Winner:

The Origin of the Jews: The Quest for Roots in a Rootless Age
Steven Weitzman
Princeton University Press

Finalist:

Learning to Read Talmud: What It Looks Like and How It Happens
Jane L. Kanarek and Marjorie Lehman, eds.
Academic Studies Press

Fiction

JJ Greenberg Memorial Award

Winner:

A Horse Walks into a Bar
David Grossman
(trans. Jessica Cohen)
Alfred A. Knopf

Finalists:

4 3 2 1: A Novel
Paul Auster
Henry Holt & Company (Macmillan)

Waking Lions
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
(trans. Sondra Silverston)
Little, Brown and Company (Hachette)

Three Floors Up
Eshkol Nevo
(trans. Sondra Silverston)
Other Press

History

Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial Award

Winner:

The Many Deaths of Jew Suss: The Notorious Trial and Execution of an Eighteenth-Century Court Jew
Yair Mintzker
Princeton University Press

Finalist:

Jewish Comedy: A Serious History
Jeremy Dauber
W. W. Norton & Company

The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis
David E. Fishman
ForeEdge, an imprint of University Press of New England

The Story of Hebrew
Lewis Glinert
Princeton University Press

Holocaust

In Memory of Ernest W. Michel

Winner:

The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis
David E. Fishman
ForeEdge, an imprint of University Press of New England

Finalists:

Theresienstadt 1941-1945: The Face of a Coerced Community

H. G. Adler, trans Belinda Cooper
Cambridge University Press

Suzanne's Children: A Daring Rescue in Nazi Paris
Anne Nelson
Simon & Schuster

Saving One's Own: Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust
Mordecai Paldiel
University of Nebraska Press (Jewish Publication Society)

Modern Jewish Thought and Experience

Dorot Foundation Award in Memory of Joy Ungerleider Mayerson

Winner:

Consumer Culture and the Making of Modern Jewish Identity
Gideon Reuveni
Cambridge University Press

Finalists:


Modernity and the Jews in Western Social Thought
Chad Alan Goldberg
University of Chicago Press

Unorthodox Kin: Portuguese Marranos and the Global Search for Belonging
Naomi Leite
University of California Press

Movies and Midrash: Popular Film and Jewish Religious Conversation
Wendy I. Zierler
SUNY Press

Poetry

Berru Award in Memory of Ruth and Bernie Weinflash

Winner:

Waiting for the Light
Alicia Suskin Ostriker
University of Pittsburgh Press

Finalists:

Line Study of a Motel Clerk
Allison Pitinii Davis
Baobab Press

Late Beauty: Poems

Tuvia Ruebner
Zephyr Press

Galaxy Love: Poems
Gerlad Stern
W. W. Norton & Company

Scholarship

Nahum M. Sarna Memorial Award

Winner:

Pious Irreverence: Confronting God in Rabbinic Judaism
Dov Weiss
University of Pennsylvania Press

Finalists:

Maimonides and the Merchants: Jewish Law and Society in the Medieval Islamic World
Mark R. Cohen
University of Pennsylvania Press

Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt: Female Adolescence, Jewish Law, and Ordinary Culture
Eve Krakowski
Princeton University Press

Ancestral Tales: Reading the Buczacz Stories of S.Y. Agnon
Alan Mintz
Stanford University Press

Sephardic Culture

Mimi S. Frank Award in Memory of Becky Levy

Winner:

Across Legal Lines: Jews and Muslims in Modern Morocco
Jessica M. Marglin
Yale University Press

Finalist:

The Merchants of Oran: A Jewish Port at the Dawn of Empire
Joshua Schreier
Stanford University Press

Visual Arts


Winner:

Arthur Szyk: Soldier in Art
Irvin Ungar
D Giles Limited, London, in association with Historicana and The Arthur Szyk Society

Finalists:

Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design
Esther da Costa Meyer
The Jewish Museum

Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist
Jens Hoffmann and Claudia Nahson
The Jewish Museum

The Carved Wooden Torah Arks of Eastern Europe
Bracha Yaniv
The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

Women’s Studies

Barbara Dobkin Award

Winner:

Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt: Female Adolescence, Jewish Law, and Ordinary Culture
Eve Krakowski
Princeton University Press

Finalists:

Before All Memory is Lost: Women's Voices From the Holocaust
Myrna Goldenberg, ed. 
The Azrieli Foundation

If All the Seas Were Ink: A Memoir
Ilana Kurshan
St.Martin's Press

Mothers in the Jewish Cultural Imagination
Marjorie Lehman, Simon J. Bronner, Jane L. Kanarek
The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

Writing Based on Archival Material

The JDC-Herbert Katzki Award

Winner:

Confessions of the Shtetl: Converts from Judaism in Imperial Russia, 1817-1906
Ellie R. Schainker
Stanford University Press

Finalist:


Seeking Asylum in Israel: Refugees and the History of Migration Law
Dr. Gilad Ben-Nun
I.B. Tauris – London

Young Adult

Winner:

Refugee
Alan Gratz
Scholastic