2022 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature Nonfiction Award Ceremony


The Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, in association with the National Library of Israel, is pleased to announce that the winner and three finalists of its 2022 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature were honored in an online ceremony today.

The program was moderated by Rabbi David Wolpe. He reflected on the uniqueness of the Prize established by Sami Rohr’s three children to honor their father and his deep love of Jewish learning. “What makes this Prize different from other literary prizes,” explained Rabbi Wolpe, “is that it is presented to an author as well as to the author’s book. It must be someone who is at the start of his or her career and who also makes a good spokesperson for Jewish life, culture and literature.”

This year’s recipients were introduced by Sallai Meridor, Chairman of the Board of Directors, the National Library of Israel. George Rohr presented the award to winner Menachem Kaiser for his book Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure (Mariner Books) after reading an excerpt to the audience.

Kaiser expressed his thanks to the Rohr family, “The Sami Rohr Prize is such an extraordinary commitment to Jewish literature. It goes beyond money. It is validation. It is recognition. It is celebration. It is a gesture—a symbol that proclaims that this matters. I am humbled to represent that commitment.”

Plunder is a deeply immersive adventure story set in motion when the author takes up his Holocaust-survivor grandfather’s former battle to reclaim the family’s apartment building in Poland. It is a daring interrogation of inheritance—material, spiritual, familial and emotional.

This year’s Sami Rohr Prize finalists are:

Ayala Fader, author of Hidden Heretics: Jewish Doubt in the Digital Age (Princeton University Press, 2020), a revealing look at Jewish men and women who secretly explore the outside world while remaining in their ultra-Orthodox religious communities.

Danny Adeno Abebe, author of From Africa to Zion (Miskal Publishing – Yediot, 2021), an extraordinary insider’s perspective on the Ethiopian Israeli immigrant experience.

Eylon Levy, translator of From Africa to Zion, is the first Translation Finalist in the history of the Sami Rohr Prize.

“We are thrilled to welcome Menachem, Ayala, Danny and Eylon to the Sami Rohr Jewish Literary Institute,” said Debra Goldberg, Director of the Sami Rohr Prize. “We look forward to their continued contribution to cultivating a vibrant Jewish literary culture and community and making Jewish literature more accessible worldwide.”

The 2023 Sami Rohr Prize for fiction is scheduled to take place next year at the new state-of-the-art home of the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.

About the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

As the premier award of its kind, the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature recognizes the unique role of contemporary writers in the examination and transmission of the Jewish experience. The $100,000 prize is granted annually, for non-fiction and fiction in alternating years, to an emerging writer who demonstrates the potential for continued contribution to the world of Jewish literature. Inaugurated in 2006, the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature honors the legacy of Sami Rohr who enjoyed a lifelong love of Jewish learning and literature. www.samirohrprize.org