National Jewish Book Award

The winners and finalists of the 2018 National Jewish Book Awards can be found here.

The 2018 Guidelines 

The 2018 National Jewish Book Awards is now closed to submissions. Please click here to read the 2018 National Jewish Book Awards guidelines.

To submit to the Mentorship Award in Honor of Carolyn Starman Hessel, please click here

About the National Jewish Book Awards

The National Jewish Book Awards are presented at a celebratory gathering in the spring of the year following the publication of the books under consideration.

The event honors the authors of the winning books. The evening is a dinner and a ceremony for the winning authors and is attended by the authors and leading names in the Jewish literary world.

The National Jewish Book Awards program began in 1950 when the Jewish Book Council presented awards to authors of Jewish books at its annual meeting. Past notable literary winners include Chaim Grade, Deborah Lipstadt, Bernard Malamud, Michael Oren, Chaim Potok, Philip Roth, Elie Wiesel, Jonathan Safran Foer, Deborah Dash Moore, and Sandy Eisenberg Sasso.

Awards are presented in over 18 categories. In addition, since 2003, one non-fiction book has been selected as the winner of the Everett Family Foundation Jewish Book of the Year Award. Winners include Dr. Jonathan Sarna and Rabbi Joseph Telushkin.

Guidelines for the National Jewish Book Awards

The goal for National Jewish Book Award judging panels is to select a quality book in their respective category that will appeal to a broad reading audience. There are variations in the rules governing each award category, but the judges are guided by these principles in arriving at their decisions:

  • The book must be of Jewish content.
  • Books, either hardcover or original paperback, must be published between January 1–December 31 of the year under consideration. If the book is published in November or December of the prior year, and only if no galleys are available prior to the publication date, the book may be submitted the following year.
  • The book must be primarily printed in English and distributed in the United States.
  • The National Jewish Book Awards submission period is open from early summer to late September/early October (the exact deadline will vary from year to year, and will be listed in each year's guidelines).

Named Awards

As the "People of the Book," naming an award is a fitting tribute to honor a special person or remember a loved one. 

Jewish Book of the Year Award

Everett Family Foundation Award

Endowed by the Everett Family in 2003, this prestigious award honors the best non-fiction book of the year.

American Jewish Studies
Celebrate 350

The Celebrate 350 Committee commemorated the 350 years of Jewish life in America and conducted a year-long series of celebrations. This award provides the opportunity to remember the event and honor books that will contribute to the next major milestone.

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

This award was dedicated in loving memory of Simon and Sofi Goldberg by their daughter, Carmel Krauss.

Biography Award
In Memory of Sara Berenson Stone

Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, Sara Berenson Stone (1915 – 2018) was a devoted philanthropist and voracious reader. One of a handful of Jewish students at Duke University, she graduated in 1935 and moved to New Orleans, where she began her eighty-year long advocacy for Jewish causes.

The main focus of Mrs. Stone’s volunteer work emerged after World War II. In 1946, she joined the Board of the New Orleans Section of the National Council of Jewish Women. In 1949 she joined a committee that welcomed and aided 6,000 Holocaust survivors arriving by boat at the Port of New Orleans from Displaced Persons camps in Europe. Her work continued through her leadership at the Jewish Children’s Regional Service, the Jewish Welfare Fund, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, the Anti-Defamation League, and Isidore Newman School. She had a profound impact on a wide variety of Jewish causes throughout her lifetime, resulting in many national and regional awards.

A prolific reader of fiction and nonfiction, Mrs. Stone had a particular interest in biographies pertaining to the Jewish experience. This Award honors writers whose work has elucidated the lives of those, past and present, who exemplify what it means to live, work and think as a Jew. By the high quality of their writing, our award winners have given their subjects and themselves an honored place in our literary canon.

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

​The Book Club Award recognizes an recognizes an outstanding work of fiction or nonfiction that inspires meaningful conversation about Jewish life, identity, practice, or history and is dedicated to promoting Jewish continuity for the next generation. The Award recognizes the power of books to inspire Jewish community and thought-provoking discussions.

Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice
Myra H. Kraft Memorial Award

In loving memory of JBC Board member, Myra H. Kraft, by Robert Kraft and family. Myra loved to read, and for many years served as the leader of the Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice Award panel.

Debut Fiction

Goldberg Prize

This prize is supported through a generous grant by the Samuel Goldberg & Sons Foundation

Education and Jewish Identity
In Memory of Dorothy Kripke

Dorothy Kripke was a prominent writer of books for Jewish children including the Let's Talk About . . . series stimulating interaction between children and parents. This award, created by her family, cherishes the memory of Mrs. Kripke.

JJ Greenberg Memorial Award

The Fiction Award is endowed by Jewish Book Council Board member and past president, Blu Greenberg, and her husband, Rabbi "Yitz" Greenberg in loving memory of their son, JJ Greenberg. This is an eternal tribute to JJ's love of reading, especially Jewish fiction.

Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial Award

The Bermans, lovers of Jewish history, endowed this award to insure the continued study of our glorious past and to honor outstanding books in the field.

In Memory of Ernest W. Michel

The Holocaust Book Award in Memory of Ernest W. Michel honors writers who produce exceptional books on the subject of the Holocaust.

Ernest Michel, born in Mannheim, Germany, survived six years in forced labor camps including two and half years in Auschwitz. He and two friends escaped from a death march from Auschwitz four weeks before the end of World War II. He was the only survivor to serve as a correspondent for the German news agency DANA at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial in 1945.

After arriving in America, he began to speak about his life experience and started working for the United Jewish Appeal. He served as the Executive Vice President of New York UJA from 1970-1989, served as the organizer and chairman of the World Gathering of Holocaust Survivors in 1981, and was a founding Trustee of the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. In 1993 he published his memoir, Promises to Keep: One Man’s Journey Against Incredible Odds.

Mentorship Award
In Honor of Carolyn Starman Hessel

Inspired by the ongoing legacy of Carolyn Starman Hessel this new award will honor one recipient each year at the National Jewish Book Award gala dinner. The award is open to individuals employed in traditional publishing or working independently as editors, agents, publicists, publishers, literary critics and have exhibited substantial engagement with Jewish authors. The goal of this award is to recognize those who nurture and mentor Jewish authors through the many steps toward publications and beyond.

Modern Jewish Thought and Experience

Dorot Foundation Award in Memory of Joy Ungerleider Mayerson

Berru Award in Memory of Ruth and Bernie Weinflash

The Berru Award for Poetry is in memory of Ruth and Bernie Weinflash who were respected leaders in their Northern New Jersey community for over fifty years.​ ​A dynamic couple with both substance and style, they were not just avid readers, but were astute critics, honing in on what spoke to both them as well as the world at large.

The Arts were an important part of their lives. Ruth, a former actress and a lively and gifted orator, chaired the Cultural Arts Committee for many years at the JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, New Jersey. She also designed programs in local schools,​ introducing children to the lives of famous historical activists to spark interest in making this world a better place.

Bernie, as an active member on many boards, served for over twenty years on the board of the Jewish Book Council. A true humanitarian, he believed that when people got together for a communal purpose, an environment of positive momentum would be ignited.

With intellect, compassion, and vision, they both immeasurable enriched the Jewish community, understanding the importance between Jewish culture and Jewish survival​​.​

Nahum Sarna Memorial Award

Dr. Nahum Sarna was a leading Biblical scholar who touched many lives through his work at Brandeis University and through the written word in his books. His family, headed by sons Jonathan and David, established this award in his memory.

Sephardic Culture
Mimi S. Frank Award in memory of Becky Levy

Mimi S. Frank, a JBC Board member, endowed this award in memory of her grandmother, Becky Levy, who shared with her the Sephardic recipes, her love of cooking and baking, and her culture from Tekirdag, Turkey. 

Women's Studies
Barbara Dobkin Award

This award honors a woman who is a leading figure in Jewish philanthropy and an outspoken advocate for Jewish women's rights. This award was established by Barbara Dobkin's friends who wish to honor her extraordinary devotion to this cause.

Writing Based on Archival Material
The JDC-Herbert Katzki Award

A book of modern historical writing published in English based on archival material, including footnotes and bibliography.

Naming Opportunities

There are naming opportunities for the award categories listed below. 

  • Anthologies and Collections

  • Children's Literature
  • Visual Arts
  • Young Adult Literature

For further information about naming opportunities call Naomi Firestone-Teeter at 212-201-2921