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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
“The Nightingale’s Sonata: The Musical Odyssey of Lea Luboshutz” by Thomas Wolf. Published by Pegasus Books
“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.
“The Last Watchmen of Old Cairo”. David, M. L. Spiegel & Grau. (2018).
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)
Ilana Kurshan, If All the Seas Were Ink: A Memoir, St. Martin’s Press.
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.
Michael Chabon, Moonglow, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
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.
Jim Shepard, The Book of Aron: A Novel, Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House
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.
Boris Fishman, A Replacement Life, HarperCollins
Stuart Rojstaczer, The Mathematician’s Shiva, Penguin.
Ruchama King Feuerman, In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist, New York Review of Books.
Yossi Klein Halevi, Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation, HarperCollins
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.
Matti Friedman, The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible, Algonquin
Anouk Markovits, I Am Forbidden, Hogarth.
Nathan Englander, What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, Knopf.
Herman Wouk, The Lawgiver.
Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole, Sacred Trash: the Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza, Schocken Books
Simon Sebag Montefiore, Jerusalem: the Biography, Alfred A. Knopf.
Art Spiegelman, MetaMaus, Pantheon Books.
Erika Dreifus, Quiet Americans: Stories, Last Light Studio Books.
Judith Shulevitz, The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time, Random House
Eshkol Nevo, Homesick, Dalkey Archive.
Jonathon Keats, The Book of the Unknown: Tales of the Thirty-Six, Random House
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.
Peter Manseau, Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter, Free Press.
Ron Leshem, Beaufort, Delacorte Press.
A.B. Yehoshua, Friendly Fire.
Arie Kaplan, From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books, Jewish Publication Society.
Nathan Englander, The Ministry of Special Cases, Knopf.
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.
Daniel Mendelsohn, The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, HarperCollins.
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.
Avner Mandelman, Talking to the Enemy, Seven Stories Press.
Michael Wex, Born to Kvetch, St. Martin’s.
Michael Lavigne, Not Me, Random House.
Tom Reiss, The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life, Random House.