The Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, in association with the National Library of Israel, has announced the winner and three finalists of its 2022 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.
An online ceremony held on Monday, Sept. 12, was moderated by Rabbi David Wolpe, who reflected on the prize established by Sami Rohr’s three children to honor their father and his deep love of Jewish learning. “What makes this different from other literary prizes,” he said, “is that it is presented to an author as well as to the author’s book. It must be someone who is at the start of his or her career and who also makes a good spokesperson for Jewish life, culture and literature.”
This year’s recipients were introduced by Sallai Meridor, chairman of the board of directors at the National Library of Israel. George Rohr presented the award to winner Menachem Kaiser for his book Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure after reading an excerpt to the audience.
In expressing his appreciation to the Rohr family, the author noted that “the Sami Rohr Prize is such an extraordinary commitment to Jewish literature. It goes beyond money. It is validation. It is recognition. It is celebration. It is a gesture—a symbol that proclaims that this matters. I am humbled to represent that commitment.”
This year’s Sami Rohr Prize finalists are:
Ayala Fader, author of Hidden Heretics: Jewish Doubt in the Digital Age, a revealing look at Jewish men and women who secretly explore the outside world while remaining in their ultra-Orthodox religious communities.
Danny Adeno Abebe, author of From Africa to Zion, an insider’s perspective on the Ethiopian-Israeli immigrant experience.
Eylon Levy, translator of From Africa to Zion, is the first finalist in that category in the history of the Sami Rohr Prize.
The 2023 Sami Rohr Prize for fiction is scheduled to take place next year at the new state-of-the-art home of the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.