Some incredible news this evening (Nov. 7) from the Jewish Book Council: I have been awarded the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize for The Aleppo Codex. The Rohr Prize is the biggest Jewish literary award and one of the biggest in general. The previous winners are a distinguished group, it is a tremendous honor, and I am grateful to the judges, to the folks at the JBC and above all to the Rohr family.
I am also grateful to the Aleppo Codex; when I encountered the manuscript for the first time in the summer of 2008 I could not have imagined what a ride it was going to take me on.
Runner-up is Sarah Bunin Benor, whose unique book about language I just started reading: Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism. The other finalists are Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition, by Marni Davis; Embodying Hebrew Culture: Aesthetics, Athletics, and Dance in the Jewish Community of Mandate Palestine, by Nina S. Spiegel; and Eliyahu Stern’s The Genius: Elijah of Vilna and the Making of Modern Judaism.
The prize goes to emerging authors of fiction and non-fiction in alternating years. Last year was a fiction year, and the winner was Francesca Segal for The Innocents. The last non-fiction winner was Gal Beckerman for When They Come For Us We’ll Be Gone.