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In 2006, in celebration of Sami Rohr's 80th birthday, his children and grandchildren inaugarated the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature to honor his lifelong love of Jewish writing.

The annual award recognizes the unique role of contemporary writers in the transmission and examination of Jewish values, and is intended to encourage and promote outstanding writing of Jewish interest. Each year, the prize of $100,000 will aim to reward an emerging writer whose work has demonstrated a fresh vision and evidence of future potential. Recipients must have written a book of exceptional literary merit that stimulates an interest in themes of Jewish concern. Fiction and non-fiction books will be considered in alternate years.

In conjunction with this award, the Rohr family has established the Sami Rohr Jewish Literary Institute, a forum devoted to the continuity of Jewish literature. The Prize and Institute will be coordinated and administered under the exclusive auspices of the Jewish Book Council. Winners will be selected by an independent panel of judges.

Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature Winners 'Judges Indecision'


The 2010 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature  judges  were not decisive enough to pick  a clear winner, a pet dislike for Tragic. If  you are going to hold a literary competition then at least have the gumption to pick one work as most worthy. 
This year the prize will be shared by two authors: Sarah Abrevaya Stein, for her book Plumes: Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost World of Global Commerce (Yale University Press) and Kenneth B. Moss for his book Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution (Harvard University Press).

To ensure a reasonable share of the prize money the runner-up category was eliminated, and the monies allocated for the winner and runner-up prizes combined into one award, split by the two winners  each author takes home  (US) $62,500. Fair enough.

“The term ‘embarrassment of riches’ was coined to describe the situation we encountered,” said Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, one of the judges for the Prize. “Our admiration for these two books and writers – and for the three other finalists as well – eventually made it so hard to choose one over the other that we finally decided we couldn’t. They both deserve to win.” 

Embarrassment for not being able to make their minds up more like.  Apparently, the decision marks the first and last time the honor would be shared by two writers.  If not again, then why now? It would be pure mischievous speculation to suggest that a tied result reflected an internal committee power struggles and an inability for any one party to get sufficient numbers.

That said,  Tragic was very taken with , Plumes: Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost World of Global Commerce which documents the bursting of the Ostrich Feather boom of the 1930's -  almost a modern day morality tale. Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution sounds intriguing, but there again so do each of the other finalists -why not split it five ways, that would be the ecumenical thing to do.

Let hope that the judges are all a bit more decisive in day to day life, otherwise crossing a busy road could be deadly , as for confusing interpretations of scripture...........................
 The Sami Rohr Prize typically awards  US$100,000 to its winner, with a $25,000 award given to its first runner-up. It is administered under the auspices of the Jewish Book Council. Fiction and non-fiction books are considered in alternate years.

The 2010 award ceremony will be held in Jerusalem on March 31st.

Other finalists for the fourth annual Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature were:

Sana Krasikov Wins 2009 Sami Rohr

March 24th, 2009- The Jewish Book Council has announced that Sana Krasikov will be awarded the 2009 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for her debut short story collection, One More Year: Stories The honor carries a cash award of $100,000. The awards committee cited Krasikov for her "fresh vision and evidence of future potential to further contribute to the Jewish literary community."

Sana Krasikov will be honored in May for her debut short story collection.

One More Year offers portraits of Russian and Georgian immigrants to the US in the post-Cold War period. The judges said Krasikov offers "subtle considerations of moral conundrums, of futile hopes and the calculus of lost possibility."

Krasikov will be honored at a gala ceremony in May at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York.

In addition, the Jewish Book Council named Dalia Sofer, author of The Septembers of Shiraz: A Novel (P.S.) , as the 2009 winner of the Sami Rohr Prize Choice Award, which carries a $25,000 prize.

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THE 2009 FICTION FINALISTS: -

Book Award Tragic Blog - Split it in two? Tragic suggests splitting the prize into two lots of $50,000 and give a fiction and non-fiction prize each year.

Winner- Sana Krasikov for One More Year: Storiesonemoreyear (Spiegel & Grau)

Winner Prize Choice Award - Dalia Sofer forThe Septembers of Shiraz: A Novel (P.S.)amazonbook(Ecco)


Elisa Albert for The Book of Dahlia: A Novel (Free Press)

Anne Landsman for The Rowing Lesson (Soho Press)

Anya Ulinich for Petropolis (Viking Penguin)

 

2008 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

Lucette Lagnado for her memoir:
The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World

In the memoir, Lagnado chronicles her family�s heartbreaking tale of their exodus from Egypt and eventual resettling in Brooklyn. Through The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, Lagnado has shed light on the untold stories of the nearly one million Jewish refugees across the Middle East, cast out from homelands they cherished and longed to return to until their deaths.

2008 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature Choice Award. The Choice Award is a monetary award in the amount of $7,500.

The two recipients of the 2008 Choice Awards are:

* Ilana M. Blumberg for Houses of Study: A Jewish Woman among Books (University of Nebraska Press)
Blumberg is Assistant Professor of Humanities at James Madison College at Michigan State University.

* Eric L. Goldstein for The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity (Princeton University Press)Goldstein is Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Emory University.

Other 2008 Finalists
Michael Makovsky for Churchill's Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft (Yale University Press)
Makovsky is Foreign Policy Director of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Haim Watzman for A Crack in the Earth: A Journey up Israel's Rift Valley (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Watzman is a Jerusalem based writer, translator, and journalist and is Israel correspondent for the science journal Nature.

2007

Winner: Tamar Yellin , author of The Genizah at the House of Shepher: A Novel (Toby Press),

2007 Choice Award

Amir Gutfreund, author ofOur Holocaust (Toby Press, translated by Jessica Cohen)

Michael Lavigne, author of Not Me: A Novel (Random House)

 

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