The Jewish Book Council announced the winners of the 2019 National Jewish Book Awards on Wednesday.
UC Berkeley professor Robert Alter received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades-long project “The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary.” Alter’s once-in-a-generation translation of the entire Hebrew Bible into English began in 1997 with the publication of his translation of Genesis. In 2018, with the last few books complete, a three-volume box set of the complete translation was released.
“I’d been reading the Bible in Hebrew since my teens, and the beauty of the Hebrew spoke to me in all sorts of ways,” he told J. in 2018. “I wanted to see if I could get more of that into English than English readers have been able to see so far.”
“America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today,” by Pamela S. Nadel, was recognized with the Jewish Book of the Year Award, the council’s top award. Her book breaks down the path of American Jewish women from colonial “Jewesses” to 19th-century domestic mothers, turn-of-the-century immigrants, mid-20th-century semi-assimilationists and today.
Two books on anti-Semitism received top honors. Deborah Lipstadt’s “Anti-Semitism: Here and Now” was recognized with the Jewish Education and Identity Award in Memory of Dorothy Kripke, and Bari Weiss’ “How to Fight Anti-Semitism” was named in the Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice in Memory of Myra H. Kraft category.
“Jewish Cuisine in Hungary: A Cultural History with 83 Authentic Recipes,” by András Koerner, which the council calls “a comprehensive and unique contribution to the field,” received top honors in a new category, the Jane and Stuart Weitzman Family Award for Food Writing and Cookbooks.
Winners in the fiction categories include “Fly Already: Stories,” by Etgar Keret, for the JJ Greenberg Memorial Award for Fiction; “The World That We Knew,” by Alice Hoffman, for the Miller Family Book Club Award in Memory of Helen Dunn Weinstein and June Keit Miller; and “Naamah,” by Sarah Blake, for the Goldberg Prize for Debut Fiction.
Other categories included biography, Holocaust literature and children’s literature. See the complete list of award recipients here.
The winners will be honored March 17 at a dinner and ceremony in New York City hosted by Jeffrey Yoskowitz, author of “The Gefilte Manifesto.”