Natan and the Jewish Book Council are thrilled to announce the Spring 2020 Natan Notable Book: Dr. Ilan Stavans’ The Seventh Heaven: Travels Through Jewish Latin America (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019).
Twice a year, Natan Notable Books recognizes recently-published or soon-to-be-published non-fiction books that promise to catalyze conversations aligned with the themes of Natan’s grantmaking: reinventing Jewish life and community for the twenty-first century, shifting notions of individual and collective Jewish identity, the history and future of Israel, understanding and confronting contemporary forms of antisemitism, and the evolving relationship between Israel and world Jewry.
The Spring 2020 winner brings the conversation of Jewish identity outside the borders of North America and Israel, introducing readers to Jewish immigrants, cultures, traditions and communities across Latin America. In the hands of a leading scholar and writer on Latin America — himself from a Mexican Jewish community — readers travel from Argentina to the Amazon, Patagonia and up to Mexico, with many stops all along the way. Stavans’ compelling travelogue reminds readers that Jewish stories exist, and flourish, in places and ways far from the narrative that is standard in the minds of many North American Jews.
In granting this award, the Natan Notable Books committee is excited to catalyze conversations about the diversity of the Jewish people, especially at a time when diversity is very much part of public conversation. Jewish communities across Latin America are, of course, not monolithic; The Seventh Heaven is a rich exploration of the varied mix of identities and concerns of Jewish communities across Latin America —each with their own history, culture, traditions, challenges, and opportunities. Natan, Jewish Book Council, and other partners will be hosting a series of virtual public events in the coming weeks to deepen and expand conversations around the book.
Professor Stavans will receive a $5,000 cash prize, as well as customized support for promoting the book and its ideas, drawing on Natan’s and Jewish Book Council’s extensive networks throughout the Jewish philanthropic and communal worlds.
The deadline for submission for Fall 2020 Natan Notable Books is August 15, open to non-fiction titles published between July 1, 2020 — June 30, 2021. For more information or to submit a title, click here. Inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.