Chanan Tigay, shown here in Venice, crisscrossed the globe to research his book. (Photo/Emanuele Dello Strologo)
Chanan Tigay, shown here in Venice, crisscrossed the globe to research his book. (Photo/Emanuele Dello Strologo)

Bay Area writer a finalist for $100,000 Sami Rohr Prize

Chanan Tigay, an Oakland resident and assistant professor of creative writing at S.F. State University, has been named a finalist for a prestigious Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.

Nominated in the nonfiction category for his book “The Lost Book of Moses,” Tigay is in the running for a $100,000 top prize. The winners will be announced in July.

ASrohrprize-moses“The Lost Book of Moses,” published in 2016, is Tigay’s account of the quest to find the world’s oldest Bible, and to solve the riddle of the man accused of forging it. Other finalists include Sara Yael Hirschhorn, author of “City on a Hilltop;” Ilana Kurshan, author of “If All the Seas Were Ink;” Yair Mintzker, author of “The Many Deaths of Jew Suss;” and Shari Rabin, author of “Jews on the Frontier.”

As a journalist, Tigay covered the Middle East, 9/11 and the United Nations for numerous magazines, newspapers and wire services. Born in Jerusalem, he holds degrees from Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania and was an investigative reporting fellow at UC Berkeley. He is married to fiction writer Molly Antopol, who was herself a Rohr Prize finalist for her 2014 short story collection “The UnAmericans.”

The Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, a program of the Jewish Book Council, honors emerging writers who explore the Jewish experience and demonstrate the potential for continued contribution to Jewish literature. It was inaugurated in 2006 by his children, to honor Rohr and his love for Jewish literature. Rohr, a powerhouse philanthropist and one of the major supporters of Chabad worldwide, died in 2012.