Sophie Brody Medal

The Sophie Brody Medal was first awarded in 2006, and includes a medal for the winner. It is funded by Sophie and Arthur Brody Foundation, and is given to encourage, recognize and commend outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. Works for adults published in the United States in the preceding year will be eligible for the award. A comprehensive list of award criteria can be found under the Nominations heading on this page.

The award is named for Sophie Brody, a philanthropist and community volunteer who held major leadership positions in the Jewish community. She served as a member of the Executive Board and Board of the Women’s Division of United Jewish Federation. With her husband Arthur, she created the Sophie Brody Leadership Development Fund to enable the United Jewish Federation to train future leaders for the Jewish community.

Nominations

In the context of this award, Jewish literature will be defined as fiction, nonfiction, or poetry that has as its central purpose the exploration of the Jewish experience. The religious affiliation of the author will not be considered in the awarding of the medal or the honor books. In support of the stated purpose, the following criteria will be used to determine and select the winning title and any honor books:

  1. A book may be selected for at least one, and preferably more than one, of the following reasons:
    • It possesses exceptional literary merit.
    • It presents the many aspects of the Jewish experience through a lens that expands the reader’s understanding.
    • It explores Jewish characters, settings, themes, philosophies, or other identifiably Jewish aspects through a literary context.
    • It broadens the understanding of the reader in regards to Jewish history, culture, and identity.
  2. Each book will be considered in relation to the general adult reader. Books requiring highly specialized knowledge for their use will not be eligible. Books will not be excluded on the basis of their unsuitability for younger readers. Books intended for a younger audience but which hold wide appeal for adults and meet the selection criteria may also be considered.
  3. Regarding Honor Books, the Sophie Brody Medal Committee must award the Brody Medal to at least one book annually. There are no requirements for honor books to be awarded if the committee decides that honor books are not appropriate in a given year. Honor books should be chosen based on the same criteria used for the medal winner.
  4. Books eligible for the Sophie Brody Medal must be published in the United States between November 1, 2023 and October 31, 2024.

For further information, please visit the committee roster page (login required) or the staff contact page.

Medal Recipients

We are aware that the winning lists for this award are not displaying properly and am working diligently to correct the problem.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

Winner:

“The Heavan and Earth Grocery Store” by James McBride, published by Riverhead, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Honorable Mentions:

"At eh Hour Between Dog and Wolf " by Tara Ison published by IG Books

"Poland A Green Land: A Novel " by Ahron Appelfeld, published by Schocken, an imprint of Penguin Random House

"Unearthed: A Lost Actress, A Forbidden Book, and a Search for Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust " by Meryl Frank, published by Hachette

"Palestine, 1036: The Great Revolt and the Roots of the Middle East Conflict” by Oren Kessler, published by Rowman & Littlefield

”We Are Not Strangers” by Josh Tuininga, published by Abram Comicarts

Winner:

“One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World” by Michael Frank, Art by Maira Kalman, published by Avid Reader Press, a division of Simon & Schuster.

Honorable Mentions:

"The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World" by Jonathan Freedland published by HarperCollins

"The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land: Stories" by Omer Friedlander, published by RandomHouse

"The Latecomer" by Jean Hanff Korelitz,  published by Celadon Books, a division of Macmillan Publishers

"On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World" by Danya Ruttenberg, published by Beacon Press

Winner:

“Kaddish Before the Holocaust and After: Poems" by Jane Yolen, published by Holy Cow Press.

Honorable Mentions:

"People Love Dead Jews" by Dara Horn published by W.W. Norton

"Tunnels" by Rutu Modan published by Drawn & Quarterly

"Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood" by Mark Oppenheimer, published by Knopf

"American Baby: A Mother, A Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption" by Gabrielle Glaser, published by Viking .

Winner:

“The Memory Monster” by Yishai Sarid, translated by Yardenne Greenspan, published by Restless Books.

Honorable Mentions:

"House of Glass: The Story and Secrets of a Twentieth-Century Jewish Family" by Hadley Freeman published by Simon & Schuster

"The Lost Shtetl by Max Gross", published by HarperVia

"The Tunnel" by A.B Yehoshua, translated by Stuart Schoffman, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

"When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father’s War and What Remains" by Ariana Neumann, published by Scribner.

Winner:

“The Nightingale’s Sonata: The Musical Odyssey of Lea Luboshutz” by Thomas Wolf. Published by Pegasus Books

Honorable Mentions:

"Strangers and Cousins" by Leah Hager Cohen. Published by Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

“The World That We Knew” by Alice Hoffman. Published by Simon & Schuster.

"The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians and Other European Immigrants Out of America" by Daniel Okrent. Published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Winner:

“The Last Watchmen of Old Cairo”. David, M. L. Spiegel & Grau. (2018).

Honorable Mentions:

Rise and Kill First: The secret history of Israel’s targeted assassinations by Begman, R. Random House. (2018).

The Stone Crusher: The True Story of a Father and Son’s Fight for Survival in Auschwitz by Dronfield, J. Chicago Review Press. (2018)

Winner:

Ilana Kurshan, If All the Seas Were Ink: A Memoir, St. Martin’s Press.

Honorable Mentions:

Leonardo Padura, Heretics, translated from the Spanish by Anna Kushner, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Bruce Henderson, Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler, William Morrow.

Winner:

Michael Chabon, Moonglow, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Honorable Mentions:

Ezra Glinter, Have I Got a Story For You: More than a Century of Fiction from The Forward, Norton.

Helen Maryles Shankman, In the Land of Armadillos, Scribner.

Matti Friedman, Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story, Algonquin.

Abraham Karpinowitz, Vilna My Vilna, Syracuse University Press.

Winner:

Jim Shepard, The Book of Aron: A Novel, Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House

Honorable Mentions:

Michal Lemberger, After Abel and Other Stories, Prospect Park Books.

Primo Levi, The Complete Works of Primo Levi, Liveright.

Sasha Abramsky, The House of Twenty Thousand Books, The New York Review of Books.

Dan Ephron, Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel, W.W. Norton.

Winner:

Boris Fishman, A Replacement Life, HarperCollins

Honorable Mentions:

Stuart Rojstaczer, The Mathematician’s Shiva, Penguin.

Ruchama King Feuerman, In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist, New York Review of Books.

Winner:

Yossi Klein Halevi, Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation, HarperCollins

Honorable Mentions:

Ari Shavit, My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, Spiegel & Grau.

Jeremy Dauber, The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem: The Remarkable Life and Afterlife of the Man Who Created Tevye, Schocken.

Winner:

Matti Friedman, The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible, Algonquin

Honorable Mentions:

Anouk Markovits, I Am Forbidden, Hogarth.

Nathan Englander, What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, Knopf.

Herman Wouk, The Lawgiver.

Winner:

Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole, Sacred Trash: the Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza, Schocken Books

Honorable Mentions:

Simon Sebag Montefiore, Jerusalem: the Biography, Alfred A. Knopf.

Art Spiegelman, MetaMaus, Pantheon Books.

Erika Dreifus, Quiet Americans: Stories, Last Light Studio Books.

Winner:

Judith Shulevitz, The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time, Random House

Honorable Mentions:

Eshkol Nevo, Homesick, Dalkey Archive.

Winner:

Jonathon Keats, The Book of the Unknown: Tales of the Thirty-Six, Random House

Honorable Mentions:

Thomas Buergenthal, Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy, Little Brown.

Melvin Konner, The Jewish Body, Schocken.

Clara Kramer and Stephen Gantz, Clara’s War: One Girl’s Story of Survival, Ecco.

Winner:

Peter Manseau, Songs for the Butcher's Daughter, Free Press.

Honorable Mentions:

Ron Leshem, Beaufort, Delacorte Press.

A.B. Yehoshua, Friendly Fire.

Arie Kaplan, From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books, Jewish Publication Society.

Winner:

Nathan Englander, The Ministry of Special Cases, Knopf.

Honorable Mentions:

Shalom Auslander, Foreskin’s Lament: A Memoir, Riverhead Books.

Diane Ackerman, The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story, Norton.

Joyce Antler, You Never Call! You Never Write! A History of the Jewish Mother, Oxford University Press.

Winner:

Daniel Mendelsohn, The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, HarperCollins.

Honorable Mentions:

Dara Horn, The World to Come, Norton.

Sandy Tolan, The LemonTree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East, Bloomsbury.

Markus Zusak, The Book Thief, Knopf.


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