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The Schmooze

Matti Friedman Nabs Sami Rohr Prize

Carolyn Starman Hessel, Director of the Jewish Book Council, the coordinating organization for the Sami Rohr Jewish Literary programs, calls it “a true life detective story on a thousand-year-old Hebrew Bible.” That’s the description of Matti Friedman’s “The Aleppo Codex,” which has won the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. The $100,000 prize is named for the the late businessman and philanthropist Sami Rohr, who died in 2012. In previous years, the prize — which alternates between fiction and non-fiction — has gone to such writers as Gal Beckerman and Austin Ratner.

The runner-up prize of $25,000 has been awarded to Sarah Bunin Benor, an associate professor of contemporary Jewish studies at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. She is the author of “Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language of Orthodox Judaism,” which Hessel describes as a book about how “a community influences one’s speech patterns.”

The 2014 Sami Rohr winner and finalists will be feted at a ceremony in Jerusalem this January.

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