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Jerusalem ceremony celebrates 2023 Sami Rohr Prize winner, finalists 

Four writers and two translators were recognized for their contributions to Jewish literature.

The 2023 winner and finalists of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature (from left): Max Gross, Iddo Gefen, Daniella Zamir, Mikołaj Grynberg, Sean Gasper Bye and Anna Solomon. Credit: Courtesy.
The 2023 winner and finalists of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature (from left): Max Gross, Iddo Gefen, Daniella Zamir, Mikołaj Grynberg, Sean Gasper Bye and Anna Solomon. Credit: Courtesy.

Iddo Gefen, a neuroscience researcher and writer, was honored on Tuesday in Jerusalem for his debut short-story collection Jerusalem Beach, which won the $100,000 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. Daniella Zamir was recognized for her translation, for which she received a quarter of the prize money.

Three other writers and another translator were celebrated as finalists in the award, which is named for the late businessman and philanthropist Sami Rohr. Family members were on hand to present the awards, as was Sallai Meridor, chair of the board of the National Library of Israel—a co-sponsor of the contest—and a former Israeli Ambassador to the United States.

The writers Max Gross, Anna Solomon, Mikołaj Grynberg and translator Sean Gasper Bye were also recognized at the event.

The program was moderated by Rabbi David Wolpe, the longtime religious leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and himself once a finalist for the National Jewish Book Awards. He also led a panel discussion with this year’s authors and translators.

Prize director Debra Goldberg said in a news release that this was the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic that the ceremony was held live, as well as the first time that a translator has won an award.

The prize, which has been offered since 2006, alternates each year between honoring works of fiction and nonfiction.

The 2024 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for nonfiction will be awarded at a ceremony to take place next June in New York.

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