Jewish Book Council announces winners

Ayelet Tsabari, author of “The Best Place on Earth: Stories,” won the 2015 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.

The Jewish Book Council announced the $100,000 award Feb. 23.

Tsabari’s book explores Israeli history through Jewish characters of Middle Eastern and North African descent.

“I grew up not seeing myself and my family in literature, so writing ‘The Best Place on Earth’ was a way to create the characters that were missing from my childhood stories,” Tsabari said. “By portraying characters of Mizrachi background I was hoping to complicate readers’ perceptions of Israel and Jewishness, and to expand and broaden their ideas of what a Jewish story and Jewish experience can be.”

Kenneth Bonert, author of “The Lion Seeker: A Novel,” the runner-up, receives $25,000.

The Rohr Prize, awarded annually since 2007, recognizes works of fiction and nonfiction in alternating years.

The late businessman and philanthropist Sami Rohr crated the award to recognize emerging writers who articulate the Jewish experience.

Matti Friedman, author of “The Aleppo Codex,” won the prize last year.

Winners and finalists will be recognized May 6 at a public program at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. The Jewish Book Council and the museum are co-sponsoring the event. — jta


Content distributed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news service.