2018 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

Hunting the Truth: Memoirs of Beate and Serge Klarsfeld
Beate and Serge Klarsfeld; Translated from the French by Sam Taylor
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Carolyn Starman Hessel Mentorship Award


Susan Shapiro

Susan Shapiro, an award-winning writing professor who has worked with more than 25,000 students throughout her career, freelances for Tablet, the Forward, the NY Times, NY Magazine, WSJ, Washington Post, L.A. Times, Elle & Oprah.com. She's the bestselling author/coauthor of 12 books her family hates including Five Men Who Broke My Heart, Lighting Up, Unhooked, The Bosnia List & the new inspiring writing guide The Byline Bible. She and her husband, a scriptwriter, live in Greenwich Village, where she teaches her popular "instant gratification takes too long" classes at The New School, NYU and in private workshops & seminars.

American Jewish Studies

Celebrate 350 Award

Winner:

The New American Judaism: How Jews Practice Their Religion Today
Jack Wertheimer
Princeton University Press

Finalists:

On Middle Ground: A History of the Jews of Baltimore
Eric L. Goldstein and Deborah R. Weiner
Johns Hopkins University Press

Pennies for Heaven: The History of American Synagogues and Money
Daniel Judson
Brandeis University Press

Beyond Chrismukkah: The Christian-Jewish Interfaith Family in the United States

Samira K. Mehta
University of North Carolina Press

Autobiography and Memoir

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

Winner:

My Country, My Life: Fighting for Israel, Searching for Peace
Ehud Barak
St. Martin's Press

Finalists:

Sara Berman's Closet
Maira and Alex Kalman
HarperCollins Publishers


The Fox Hunt: A Refugee’s Memoir of Coming to America
Mohammed Al Samawi
HarperCollins Publishers

Biography

In Memory of Sara Berenson Stone

Winner:

Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel's Classroom
Ariel Burger
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Finalists:

Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death
Lillian Faderman
Yale University Press


The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt: A Tyranny of Truth
Ken Krimstein
Bloomsbury


The Woman Who Fought an Empire: Sarah Aaronsohn and Her Nili Spy Ring
Gregory J. Wallance
Potomac Books

Book Club Award

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

Winner:

The Girl from Berlin
Ronald H. Balson
St. Martin's Press

Finalists:

Promised Land
Martin Fletcher
St. Martin's Press

Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor
Yossi Klein Halevi
HarperCollins Publishers


Children's Literature


Winner:

All Three Stooges
Erica S. Perl
Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books

Finalist:

Sweep
Jonathan Auxier
Abrams Books

All-Of-A-Kind Family Hanukkah
Emily Jenkins; Paul O. Zelinsky, illus.
Penguin Random House Children's Books

Regina Persisted: An Untold Story
Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Margeaux Lucas, illus.
Behrman House

Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice

Myra H. Kraft Memorial Award

Winner:

The Going: A Meditation on Jewish Law
Leon Wiener Dow
Palgrave Macmillan

Finalists:

Recharging Judaism: How Civic Engagement is Good for Synagogues, Jews, and America
Rabbi Judith Schindler and Judy Seldin-Cohen
CCAR Press

The Case of the Sexy Jewess: Dance, Gender and Jewish Joke-work in US Pop Culture
Hannah Schwadron
Oxford University Press

Debut Fiction

Goldberg Prize

Winner:

The Book of Dirt
Bram Presser
Text Publishing

Finalists:

I, Sarah Steinway
Mary E. Carter
Tovah Miriam

The Dream Stitcher
Deborah Gaal
Anchor House Publishing

Ariel Samson: Freelance Rabbi
MaNishtana
Multikosheral Press NYC

Sadness is a White Bird
Moriel Rothman-Zecher
Atria Books (Simon and Schuster)

Education and Jewish Identity

In Memory of Dorothy Kripke


Winner:

The Talmud: A Biography
Barry Scott Wimpfheimer
Princeton University Press

Finalist:

Mavericks, Mystics & False Messiahs: Episodes from the Margins of Jewish History
Pini Dunner
Toby Press

The Talmud of Relationships, Volume 1 & 2
Rabbi Amy Scheinerman
The Jewish Publication Society

In Good Faith: Questioning Religion and Atheism
Scott A. Shay
Post Hill Press

Fiction

JJ Greenberg Memorial Award

Winner:

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo
Michael David Lukas
Spiegel & Grau

Finalists:

The Mandela Plot
Kenneth Bonert
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Mother India: A Novel
Tova Reich
Syracuse University Press

Lake Success
Gary Shteyngart
Penguin Random House

History

Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial Award

Winner:

Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations
Ronen Bergman
Random House

Finalist:

In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea
Michael Brenner
Princeton University Press

Italy's Jews from Emancipation to Fascism
Shira Klein
Cambridge University Press

Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History
Steven J. Zipperstein
Liveright/W. W. Norton & Company

Holocaust

In Memory of Ernest W. Michel

Winner:

Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz
Omer Bartov
Simon and Schuster

Modern Jewish Thought and Experience

Dorot Foundation Award in Memory of Joy Ungerleider Mayerson

Winner:

Does Judaism Condone Violence? Holiness and Ethics in the Jewish Tradition
Alan L. Mittleman
Princeton University Press

Finalists:


Martin Buber's Theopolitics
Samuel Hayim Brody
Indiana University Press

Dear Zealots
Amos Oz
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

A Rich Brew: How Cafes Created Modern Jewish Culture
Shachar M. Pinsker
New York University Press

Poetry

Berru Award in Memory of Ruth and Bernie Weinflash

Winner:

Holy Moly Carry Me
Erika Meitner
BOA Editions, Ltd.

Finalists:

Years I Walked at Your Side: Selected Poems
Mordechai Geldman; Tsipi Keller, trans.
SUNY Press

Fruit Geode

Alicia Jo Rabins
Augury Books

Scholarship

Nahum M. Sarna Memorial Award

Winner:

Historical Atlas of Hasidism
Marcin Wodziński
Cartography by Waldemar Spallek
Princeton University Press

Finalists:

Time in the Babylonian Talmud: Natural and Imaged Times in Jewish Law and Narrative
Lynn Kaye
Cambridge University Press

Shifting Images of the Hasmoneans: Second Temple Legends and Their Reception in Josephus and Rabbinic Literature
Vered Noam
Oxford University Press

Hasidic Commentary on the Torah
Ora Wiskind–Elper
Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

Sephardic Culture

Mimi S. Frank Award in Memory of Becky Levy

Winner:

Dominion Built of Praise: Panegyric and Legitimacy Among Jews in the Medieval Mediterranean
Jonathan Decter
University of Pennsylvania Press

Finalist:

The Holocaust and North Africa
Aomar Boum and Sarah Abrevaya Stein
Stanford University Press

Women’s Studies

Barbara Dobkin Award

Winner:

Never a Native
Alice Shalvi
Halban Publishers

Finalists:

The Obligated Self: Maternal Subjectivity and Jewish Thought
Mara H. Benjamin
Indiana University Press

Braided: A Journey of A Thousand Challahs
Beth Ricanati
She Writes Press

Writing Based on Archival Material

The JDC-Herbert Katzki Award

Winner:

Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America's Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe
Rebecca Erbelding
Penguin Random House - Doubleday

Finalist:


Italy's Jews from Emancipation to Fascism
Shira Klein
Cambridge University Press

Additional Jewish Book Council Honors:

Paper Brigade for New Israeli Fiction

In Honor of Jane Weitzman

Winner:

Our Lady of Kazan
Maya Arad

An excerpt from the winning selection has been translated into English by Jessica Cohen and appears in the 2019 edition of Paper Brigade.