The Arty Semite

Stanford Hogs the Rohr Prize

By Dan Friedman

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Two Stanford PhDs — Kenneth Moss and Sarah Abrevaya Stein — have shared the latest Sami Rohr Prize.

In a move the committee has characterized as “unprecedented” (i.e. they didn’t do it the one other time they awarded the non-fiction prize) the top prize has been shared and the second prize scrapped.

What goes unmentioned is that this is the first time even a share of the first prize has gone to a man in the four years of the Rohr Prize. Although Jenna Weissman Joselit wrote about Stein’s book in her “Wonders of America” column, Moss’s book (reviewed in next week’s Forward) is a more significant and impressive book.

It’s not really about geography or gender though. Unlike the finalists for the National Jewish Book Awards there’s not a clunker on the Rohr shortlist, and the real winner is the Jewish world of ideas.


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