Three Brandeis University Press books honored
Publications named finalists for 2010 National Jewish Book Awards2010 National Jewish Book Awards.
Among them is a collection of short stories, "Promised Lands: New Jewish American Fiction on Longing and Belonging," edited by Derek Rubin. The book includes interpretations of the titular theme by more than 20 up-and-coming Jewish American writers.
"It's an intriguing anthology because the editor invited entries from a broad range of mostly young American writers," said Sylvia Fuks Fried, executive director of the Tauber Institute and Brandeis University Press representative to the editorial committee of the University Press of New England (UPNE).
Brandeis University Press is one of the premier publishers of Jewish studies and a member of UPNE. It publishes books in a variety of scholarly and general interest fields, but rarely forays into fiction. David Assaf's "Untold Tales of the Hasidim: Crisis and Discontent in the History of Hasidim" and Jack Wertheimer's "Learning and Community: Jewish Supplementary Schools in the Twenty-First Century," finalists in history and education and Jewish identity, respectively, might be more representative of the scholarly focus.
In "Learning and Community" Wertheimer looks at how 10 schools have reinvented themselves to face modern challenges and better deliver Jewish education. Each chapter is written by an academic observer with the help of an experienced educator, presenting a variety of voices and showing how schools of different sizes and means can maximize impact.
Assaf reveals in "Untold Tales of the Hasidim" some of the dark, dramatic and little-known incidents in Hasidism. He gauges historical truth by examining how the same events are treated in different traditions, and tells the stories of Hasidic elites who didn't walk customary paths.
"These books align nicely with other initiatives and reflect the Brandeis mission," Fuks Fried said. "All of these books are very deserving. It's always nice to recognized and we're happy when our books receive attention."
The National Jewish Book Awards, distributed by the Jewish Book Council, is the longest running North American awards program of its kind in the field of Jewish literature.