Matti Friedman was awarded the largest Jewish literary prize, the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, for "The Aleppo Codex” (Algonquin). His book, published in 2012, traces the unusual history and complicated provenance of the precious manuscript, considered to be the authoritative text of the Bible. The codex was hand-written about a thousand years ago.
In his thoughtful and provocative new book, “The American Jewish Story Through Cinema” (University of Texas Press), Eric A. Goldman refers to Hollywood films about American Jewish life as “a Haggadah,” the Passover text that is savored and studied annually.
For Andre Aciman, A.J. Sidransky and Jessica Sofer, questions of identity, assimilation and food.
Jewish Week Book Critic
In his memoir and essays, Andre Aciman has captured the inner life of exile, what it’s like to stand in one place and be reminded of another, to long for that other place, even knowing it no longer exits. He embraces his new land of America, while Egypt and Europe, his motherlands, are very present. A masterful writer, Aciman is most at home in the place of not feeling at home, anywhere.
Avivah Zornberg overlays a dizzying tapestry of midrashic, psychoanalytic and literary sources on her biblical themes. Her most satisfied listeners allow for the unmooring of the categorical mind. Zornberg, most recently the author of “The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious,” suggests that the hidden meaning of our classical texts is best perceived with our own porous and poetic unconscious minds.
The sudden death of a cousin in Florida several years ago forced Erica Brown, left, the Jewish scholar, educator and writer (and Jewish Week columnist), into the role of spiritual adviser and counselor for her grieving family.
A satisfying historical novel displays a flair for narrative and credible characters grounded on a solid base of research. The more remote the period, the tougher the challenge. In “The Liars’ Gospel,” (Little Brown), Naomi Alderman, a British writer, takes on perhaps the most difficult challenge of all.
Harriet Rossetto’s new book, “Sacred Housekeeping: A Spiritual Memoir” (Author House), is a fitting companion to her husband’s 2004 best-seller, “The Holy Thief: A Con Man’s Journey From Darkness To Light” (HarperCollins).
The Jewish Book Council has bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award in past years on literary figures Philip Roth and Cynthia Ozick. This year’s award, however, went to someone not as well known in the world of literature, but who has contributed to the Jewish community as well as the world of literature and science.