Finalists announced for Koret Jewish Book Awards

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The Koret Foundation has announced the finalists for the Jewish Book Awards, which will be held in San Francisco for the first time since the event’s inception seven years ago.

Awards will be presented 7 p.m. Monday, April 11, at the Kanbar Theater, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California St.

The ceremony will include the program “Faith, Politics and the Jews: An Exchange Between Hillel Halkin and Anne Roiphe.”

Finalists for biography, autobiography and literary studies are “Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode” by Robert S. Kawashima; “A Tale of Love and Darkness” by Amos Oz, translated from the Hebrew by Nicolas de Lange; “Autobiographical Jews: Essays in Jewish Self-Fashioning” by Michael Stanislawski; and “Nine Suitcases” by Béla Zsolt, translated from the Hungarian by Ladislaus Löb.

Finalists for fiction are “The Persistence of Memory” by Tony Eprile; “Heir to the Glimmering World” by Cynthia Ozick; “The First Desire” by Nancy Reisman; and “The Plot Against America” by Philip Roth.

Finalists for history are “Mothers and Children: Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe” by Elisheva Baumgarten; “A Jewish Renaissance in Fifteenth-Century Spain” by Mark D. Meyerson; “American Judaism” by Jonathan D. Sarna; and “Making Jews Modern: The Yiddish and Ladino Press in the Russian and Ottoman Empires” by Sarah Abrevaya Stein.

Finalists for philosophy and thought are “Moses Maimonides: The Man and His Works” by Herbert A. Davidson; “Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition” by Rabbi Steven Greenberg; and “The Texture of the Divine: Imagination in Medieval Islamic” and “Jewish Thought” by Aaron W. Hughes.

Finalists for children’s literature are “Cats in Krasinski Square” by Karen Hesse, illustrated by Wendy Watson; “Daniel in the Lions’ Den” by Jean Marzollo; and “Baby Babka, the Gorgeous Genius” by Jane Breskin Zalben, illustrated by Victoria Chess.

A special award for translation and commentary will be presented to U.C. Berkeley professor Robert Alter for his book “The Five Books of Moses.”

Finalists for the young writer on Jewish themes award are Hugh Behm-Steinberg, Tim Bradford, Melanie Challenger, Joshua Cohen, Nan Cohen, Lou Cove, Joshua Fagan, Aliza Fogelson, Victoria Häggblom-Arrias and Adam Langer.

The awards ceremony will be part of the JCCSF’s literary arts mosaic. Related events include a Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) presentation at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 9, and a “brunch-and-learn” in which some book award winners will participate Sunday, April 10, at the JCC. Both events are free, but tickets are required. Information: (415) 292-1219.