National Jewish Book Award Winners

nationaljewishbkawardwinners

To the End of the Land / David Grossman; translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen

Ora is about to celebrate her son Ofer’s release from Israeli army service when he voluntarily rejoins. In a fit of magical thinking, she takes off to hike in the Galilee, leaving no forwarding information for the notifiers who might deliver the worst news a parent can hear. Recently estranged from her husband, she drags along an unlikely companion: their once best friend Avram, who was tortured as a POW during the Yom Kippur War and, in his brokenness, refused to ever know the boy or even to keep in touch with them.

Rich Boy / Sharon Pomerantz

The upward strivings of a middle-class Jew as he loses himself in the strange world of the fabulously wealthy is threatened by a chance encounter with a beautiful girl from his old NYC neighborhood–and the forgotten life she reawakens–threatens to unravel his carefully constructed new identity.

Early Modern Jewry: a new cultural history/ Ruderman, David B.

Early Modern Jewry boldly offers a new history of the early modern Jewish experience. From Krakow and Venice to Amsterdam and Smyrna, David Ruderman examines the historical and cultural factors unique to Jewish communities throughout Europe, and how these distinctions played out amidst the rest of society.

When They Come For Us, we’ll be gone: the epic struggle to save soviet Jewry / Beckerman, Gal

Draws on newly released government documents to trace the three-decade effort to protect Jewish Soviet citizens after World War II, providing coverage of the movement’s impact on Judaism, the Cold War, and immigration.

Jerusalem: the biography / Simon Sebag Montefiore

Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgment Day and the battlefield of today’s clash of civilizations. From King David to Barack Obama, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict, this is the epic history of three thousand years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism and coexistence. How did this small, remote town become the Holy City, the “center of the world” and now the key to peace in the Middle East? In a gripping narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals this ever-changing city in its many incarnations, bringing every epoch and character blazingly to life.

Until the Dawn’s Light / Aharon Appelfeld ; translated from the Hebrew by Jeffrey M. Green

A high school honor student bound for university and a career as a mathematician, Blanca lives with her parents in a small town in Austria in the early years of the twentieth century. At school one day she meets Adolf, who comes from a family of peasant laborers. Tall and sturdy, plainspoken and uncomplicated, Adolf is unlike anyone Blanca has ever met. And Adolf is awestruck by beautiful, brilliant Blanca–even though she is Jewish. When Blanca is asked by school administrators to tutor Adolf, the inevitable happens: they fall in love. And when Adolf asks her to marry him, Blanca abandons her plans to attend university, converts to Christianity, and leaves her family, her friends, and her old life behind.

Nazis on the Run : how Hitler’s henchmen fled justice / Gerald Steinacher

Steinacher not only reveals how Nazi war criminals escaped from justice at the end of the Second World War, fleeing through the Tyrolean Alps to Italian seaports, but he also highlights the key roles played by the Red Cross, the Vatican, and the Secret Services of the major powers. 

The Innocents / Francesca Segal

As he prepares for his wedding to Rachel Gilbert, the girl he has been with for twelve years, Adam Newman begins to question everything when Rachel’s fiercely independent and beautiful young cousin moves home from New York.

An American Bride in Kabul : a memoir / Phyllis Chesler

In 1961 Phyllis Chesler, a Jewish-American girl embarked on an adventure to meet her westernized husband’s family in Afghan. Back home he reverted to traditional customs and she found herself unexpectedly trapped. This dramatic tale shows how Chesler escaped and turned adversity into a passion for political reform.

Between Friends / Amos Oz ; translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston

Oz returns to the kibbutz of the late 1950s, the time and place where his writing began. These eight interconnected stories, set in the fictitious Kibbutz Yekhat, draw … profiles of idealistic men and women enduring personal hardships in the shadow of one of the greatest collective dreams of the twentieth century.

My Promised Land : the triumph and tragedy of Israel / Ari Shavit

Presents an examination of Israel that traces the events that led the country to its current state of conflict through the stories of everyday citizens to illuminate the importance of lesser-known historical events.

The Betrayers : a novel / David Bezmozgis

A Soviet Jewish dissident finds himself a disgraced Israeli politician. When he refuses to back down from a contrary but principled stand regarding the settlements in the West Bank, his political opponents expose his affair with a mistress decades his junior, and the besieged couple escapes to Yalta.

The Mathematician’s Shiva / Stuart Rojstaczer

Following the death of Rachela, a famous female math professor, mathematicians crash the Shiva in order to discover the solution to the million-dollar Navier-Stokes Millennium Prize Problem, which she was rumored to have solved.

The Boatmaker / [a novel] by John Benditt

In John Benditt’s debut novel, a fierce, complicated, silent man wakes from a fever dream compelled to build a boat and sail away from the small island where he was born. The boat carries him to the next, bigger, island, where he becomes locked in a drunken and violent affair whose explosion propels him all the way to the mainland. There he struggles to understand the intricacies of a larger society and its dark underworld. As he encounters greed, corruption, and racial and religious hatred, he uncovers truths that allow him to redirect the course of his destiny. The boatmaker‘s journey cannot be traced on any map, and yet it is located at the epicenter of European history.

The Last Flight of Poxl West / Daniel Torday

All his life, Elijah Goldstein has idolized his charismatic Uncle Poxl. Intensely magnetic, cultured and brilliant, Poxl takes Elijah under his wing, introducing him to opera and art and literature. But when Poxl publishes a memoir of how he was forced to leave his home north of Prague at the start of WWII and then avenged the deaths of his parents by flying RAF bombers over Germany during the war, killing thousands of German citizens, Elijah watches as the carefully constructed world his uncle has created begins to unravel.

Doomed to Succeed : the U.S.-Israel relationship from Truman to Obama / Dennis Ross

When it comes to Israel, U.S. policy has always emphasized the unbreakable bond between the two countries and our ironclad commitment to Israel’s security. Today our ties to Israel are close―so close that when there are differences, they tend to make the news. But it was not always this way.

The Crime and the Silence : confronting the massacre of Jews in wartime Jedwabne / Anna Bikont; translated from the Polish by Alissa Valles

The devastating story of Jedwabne, which was the basis of Jan Gross’s controversial Neighbors (2001). Based on the author’s encounters with witnesses, survivors, murderers, and their helpers between 2000 and 2004, The Crime and the Silence raises important questions about the responsibility of Poles for the Holocaust”.

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