In the past year, Jewish Review of Books has reviewed three of the five books that were named finalists for the prestigious Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. Here are the five, with links to our reviews:
- Sara Yael Hirshhorn, City on a Hilltop: American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement
- Ilana Kurshan, If All the Seas Were Ink: A Memoir
- Yair Mintzker, The Many Deaths of Jew Süss: The Notorious Trial and Execution of an Eighteenth-Century Court Jew
- Shari Rabin, Jews on the Frontier: Religion and Mobility in Nineteenth-Century America
- Chanan Tigay, The Lost Book of Moses: The Hunt for the World’s Oldest Bible
We also published a fascinating piece by Shari Rabin on a Civil War Seder.
Mazal tov to all the finalists!
Awarded by the Jewish Book Council, the Sami Rohr Prize is designed to honor “emerging writers who explore the Jewish experience and demonstrate the potential for continued contribution to Jewish literature.” The winner, to be announced in July, will receive $100,000. (Second place wins $18,000 and the other finalists will be awarded $5,000 each.) All will be celebrated in a ceremony to take place this summer in Jerusalem. This year, the prize will be awarded to a non-fiction book. In alternate years, a work of fiction wins the prize.
Three people are required to perfect a joke: one to tell it, one to get it, and a third not to get it.
The reimagining of an ancient architectural ritual.
Could the hot dog-munching, movie-going young colonel named Nasser have become our man if we had tried harder to accommodate him at the very outset?
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, “the father of modern Hebrew,” famously raised his own son to be the first child in almost 2,000 years to speak only Hebrew. When Itamar Ben-Avi grew up, he was fascinated by . . . Esperanto. Esther Schor’s new book on L. L. Zamenhof, his would-be universal language, and those who still speak it inspired Stuart Schoffman to revisit the oddly parallel careers of Ben-Yehuda and Zamenhof.