Matti Friedman was awarded the largest Jewish literary prize, the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, for “The Aleppo Codex” (Algonquin). His book, published in 2012, traces the unusual history and complicated provenance of the precious manuscript, considered to be the authoritative text of the Bible. The codex was hand-written about a thousand years ago.
On his blog, Friedman, who writes for The Times of Israel, thanks his editors, the judges, the Rohr family and others, and adds, “I am also grateful to the Aleppo Codex; when I encountered the manuscript for the first time in the summer of 2008 I could not have imagined what a ride it was going to take me on.”
“The Aleppo Codex” was also awarded the American Library Association’s Sophie Brody Medal.
The Sami Rohr Prize, which includes an award for $100,000, will be presented at a ceremony in Jerusalem in January, coordinated by the Jewish Book Council.
Sarah Bunin Benor was named as the runner-up for her book “Becoming Frum” (Rutgers) and will be awarded a prize of $25,000.
Other finalists include Marni Davis, author of “Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition” (NYU Press), Nina S. Spiegel, author of “Embodying Hebrew Culture: Aesthetics, Athletics, and Dance in the Jewish Community of Mandate Palestine” (Wayne State University Press) and Eliyahu Stern, author of “The Genius: Elijah of Vilna and the Making of Modern Judaism” (Yale University Press).