Koret Jewish Book Award

The Koret Jewish Book Award is an annual award that recognizes "recently published books on any aspect of Jewish life in the categories of biography/autobiography and literary studies, fiction, history and philosophy/thought published in, or translated into, English." The award was established in 1998 by the Koret Foundation, in cooperation with the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, to increase awareness of the best new Jewish books and their authors.[1]

Professor Samuel Zipperstein of Stanford University oversaw the awards from their creation until 2005, when the Koret Foundation decided to increase public interest in the awards by honoring books that were less academic and more accessible to readers. Jewish Family & Life!, a non-profit organization, was selected to manage the awards. Its CEO, Rabbi Yosef Abramowitz, stated that he hoped to transform the awards into something akin to Oprah's Book Club.[2] The History category and the Biography, Autobiography or Literary Study category were eliminated and replaced with a new category, Jewish Life & Living.

The Koret Jewish Book Award is one of the highest honors for authors of works on Jewish subjects.[3]



2006 David Grossman Her Body Knows[4]
2005 Tony Eprile The Persistence of Memory
2004 (tie) Aharon Megged Foiglman [5]
Barbara Honigmann A Love Made Out of Nothing & Zohara's Journey
2003 Henryk Grynberg Drohobycz, Drohobycz and Other Stories: True Tales from the Holocaust and Life After
2002 Isaac Babel, Nathalie Babel (editor) The Complete Works of Isaac Babel[6]
2001 Philip Roth The Human Stain[7]
2000 A. B. Yehoshua A Journey to the End of the Millennium
1999 (tie) Yoel Hoffmann Katschen & The Book of Joseph
Brian Morton Starting Out in the Evening

Jewish Life and LivingEdit

2006 Rochel Berman   Dignity Beyond Death[4]

History (discontinued)Edit

2005 Elisheva Baumgarten Mothers and Children: Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe
2004 Shmuel Feiner The Jewish Enlightenment[5]
2003 Benjamin Nathans Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia
2002 Eli Lederhendler New York Jews and the Decline of Urban Ethnicity -- 1950-1970[6]
2001 David B. Ruderman Jewish Enlightenment in an English Key: Anglo-Jewry's Construction of Modern Jewish Thought[7]
2000 Chava Weissler Voices of the Matriarchs: Listening to the Prayers of Early Modern Jewish Women
1999 Miriam Bodian Hebrews of the Portuguese Nation: Conversos and Community in Early Modern Amsterdam

Philosophy and ThoughtEdit

2006 Rebecca Goldstein Betraying Spinoza
2005 Steven Greenberg Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition
2004 Daniel Matt The Zohar, Pritzker Edition, Volumes I and II[5]
2003 Moshe Idel Absorbing Perfections: Kabbalah and Interpretation
2002 (tie) Samuel Heilman When a Jew Dies: The Ethnography of a Bereaved Son [6]
Ken Koltun-Fromm Moses Hess and Modern Jewish Identity
2001 Kenneth Seeskin Searching for a Distant God: The Legacy of Maimonides[7]
2000 David Patterson Along the Edge of Annihilation: The Collapse and Recovery of Life in the Holocaust Diary
1999 Arnold Eisen Rethinking Modern Judaism Ritual, Commandment, Community

Biography, Autobiography or Literary Study (discontinued)Edit

2005 Amos Oz A Tale of Love and Darkness
2004 Benjamin Harshav Marc Chagall and His Times: A Documentary Narrative[5]
2003 Tikva Frymer-Kensky Reading the Women of the Bible
2002 Dorothy Gallagher How I Came Into My Inheritance and Other True Stories [6]
2001 Cynthia Ozick Quarrel & Quandary: Essays[7]
2000 Steven Nadler Spinoza: A Life

Children's LiteratureEdit

2006 Howard Schwartz,
Kristina Swarner (illustrator)
Before You Were Born
2005 Karen Hesse,
Wendy Watson (illustrator)
The Cats in Krasinski Square

Special AwardsEdit

German writer W. G. Sebald received a special Koret award in 2002 for his contributions to literature. Steven J. Zipperstein, the director of the Korets, cited Sebald's novel Austerlitz as a particularly impressive work. Sebald died several months before the awards ceremony.[6]

In 2006, Jonathan Safran Foer's novel Everything is Illuminated received JBooks.com's People's Choice award for the best Jewish work of fiction of the previous decade, as determined by 1,500 voters in an online contest.[4]


  1. ^ Koret Jewish Book Award, National Foundation for Jewish Culture. Accessed February 19, 2008.
  2. ^ Siegel, Jennifer (3 March 2006). "Prestigious Book Prize Seeks More Popular Profile". The Forward. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  3. ^ Rappaport, Scott. "Jewish studies to host lecture by winner of 2005 Koret history book prize", UC Santa Cruz Currents, April 4, 2005. Accessed February 19, 2008. "The Koret Jewish Book Award is considered to be one of the highest honors for authors writing prose on Jewish themes."
  4. ^ a b c Fishkoff, Sue (20 October 2006). "Foer gets top book award". Jewish News of Greater Phoenix. JTA. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d "Berkeley Kabbalah scholar wins Koret Book Award". j. weekly. 5 March 2004. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d e Van Gelder, Lawrence (11 April 2002). "Footlights". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d "'Literary luminaries' receive Koret Awards". j. weekly. 23 March 2001. Retrieved 23 April 2012.

External linksEdit