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


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


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


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


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


In Memory of Sara Berenson Stone


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


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

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

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


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


Promised Land
Martin Fletcher
St. Martin's Press

Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor
Yossi Klein Halevi
HarperCollins Publishers

Children's Literature


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


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


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


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


The Book of Dirt
Bram Presser
Text Publishing


I, Sarah Steinway
Mary E. Carter
Tovah Miriam

The Dream Stitcher
Deborah Gaal
Anchor House Publishing

Ariel Samson: Freelance Rabbi
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


The Talmud: A Biography
Barry Scott Wimpfheimer
Princeton University Press


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


JJ Greenberg Memorial Award


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


The Mandela Plot
Kenneth Bonert
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Mother India: A Novel
Tova Reich
Syracuse University Press

Lake Success
Gary Shteyngart
Penguin Random House


Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial Award


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


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


In Memory of Ernest W. Michel


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


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


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


Berru Award in Memory of Ruth and Bernie Weinflash


Holy Moly Carry Me
Erika Meitner
BOA Editions, Ltd.


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

Fruit Geode

Alicia Jo Rabins
Augury Books


Nahum M. Sarna Memorial Award


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


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


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


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

Women’s Studies

Barbara Dobkin Award


Never a Native
Alice Shalvi
Halban Publishers


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


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


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


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.