Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
The Schmooze

Shulem Deen and Daniel Torday Are Jewish Book Awards Winners

The Jewish Book Council has announced the winners of its 2015 National Jewish Book Awards. The awards, celebrating their 65th year, span a wide variety of Jewish texts both popular and scholarly, from American Jewish Studies to Children’s Literature to Sephardic Culture.

Highlights from the 19 categories include the award for “Jewish Book of the Year,” which went to Bruce Hoffman’s “Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947.” Daniel Torday’s “The Last Flight of Poxl West: A Novel” won for fiction while John Benditt took home top honors in debut fiction for “The Boatmaker,” and Laura Amy Schlitz became the first winner in a new category for young adult literature for her novel “The Hired Girl.” Shulem Deen, who writes the “My Heretical Year” column for the Forward, won the award in Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice for “All Who Go Do Not Return: A Memoir.”

In the more scholarly awards, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks won his fifth National Jewish Book Award in the category of Modern Jewish Thought and Experience for “Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence.” Ted Merwin’s “Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli” won the award in Education and Jewish Identity, and Dennis Ross walked away with the prize in History for “Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama.”

For most awards, only books issued between January 1 and December 31 of 2015 were considered. For those awards not issued annually, however, books from multiple years were eligible (although all books entered to the awards must be entered in their year of publication). Thus, Edward Hirsch’s “Gabriel: A Poem” which was published in 2014 and won this year’s poetry award, was eligible, as an award in that category had not been given since 2013.

This year’s winners will be honored at a gala in early March. The is available through the Jewish Book Council’s website.

Talya Zax is the Forward’s culture intern.





    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.