The Arty Semite

Gal Beckerman Wins the Sami Rohr Prize

By Dan Friedman

  • Print
  • Share Share

The top award of the highly coveted Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature 2012 has gone to Gal Beckerman, the Forward’s opinion editor and author of the universally acclaimed “When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry.” (Winner of the 2010 National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Book of the Year.) It will be presented at a gala awards ceremony in Jerusalem on April 11.

The judges said that Beckerman’s work shows “his clear commitment to becoming a storyteller for the Jewish people,” in the February 15 press release announcing the award of the $100,000 prize. The book is a compelling chronicle of Jews and activists who were united even across the Iron Curtain. This echoes much of the critical opinion of his work, as Donald Kimelman noted of his treatment of Soviet Jewry activists in the Forward review, Beckerman “tells their stories particularly well.”

On receiving news of the award, Beckerman said, “I’m beyond thrilled. In the world of book writing, it’s so rare to get the extraordinary recognition and encouragement that this prize offers. It is a great push forward toward future projects. I feel incredibly humbled and grateful.”

The runner up, who will receive $25,000, is Abigail Green, author of “Moses Montefiore: Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero.” Her book was reviewed with effusive praise by Mikhail Krutikov in the Forverts, (translated here) and the Rohr panel refers to it as a “monumental biography.”

Read the excerpt that tells of Meir Kahane’s tumultuous reign over the Soviet Jewry Movement, and its fatal consequence.

Read about the courage of the refuseniks at their darkest hour.

Read the book’s account of the rise to prominence of Avital Shcharansky and watch Beckerman explain the relevance of the Soviet Jewry movement to contemporary society.

Watch Beckerman discuss how he came, and later returned, to the subject of the Soviet Jewry movement.

Gal Beckerman on the Fight to Save Soviet Jewry from Jewish Daily Forward on Vimeo.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sami Rohr, Gal Beckerman

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • Sigal Samuel's family amulet isn't just rumored to have magical powers. It's also a symbol of how Jewish and Indian rituals became intertwined over the centuries. http://jd.fo/a3BvD Only three days left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.