The Times of Israel’s Matti Friedman is on the short list for the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize for Non-Fiction.
The five finalists for the $100,000 literary prize were announced Monday by the Jewish Book Council. The winner will be announced in November; the runner-up receives $25,000.
They are TOI’s Matti Friedman, author of “The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible”; Sarah Bunin Benor, “Becoming Frum”; Marni Davis, “Jews and Booze”; Nina Spiegel, “Embodying Hebrew Culture”; and Eliyahu Stern, “The Genius.”
The Rohr Prize has been given annually since 2007 and considers works of fiction and nonfiction in alternating years.
It was created by the late businessman and philanthropist Sami Rohr to recognize emerging writers who articulate the Jewish experience as determined by a specific work, as well as the author’s potential to make significant ongoing contributions to Jewish literature.
Francesca Segal won the prize last year for her novel “The Innocents.”
Friedman’s “The Aleppo Codex” won the 2013 Sophie Brody Medal for outstanding achievement in the field of Jewish literature.
The true-life detective story traces how the invaluable Aleppo Codex manuscript — “the most perfect copy of the Hebrew Bible” — was smuggled from its hiding place in Syria into the newly founded State of Israel, and how and why many of its most sacred and valuable pages went missing.
The Aleppo Codex has been translated into Hebrew, French, German and Dutch and Czech. Last year, The Times of Israel published an exclusive excerpt from the book, available here.