Brandeis University Press authors win book awards

Anita Shapira named for history category, Elana Maryles Sztokman for women's studies

From left, Elana Maryles Sztokman and Anita Shapira

Two Brandeis University Press authors have been named winners of 2012  National Jewish Book Awards by the Jewish Book Council.

Anita Shapira won in the history category for her work tracing the development of the state of Israel from the origins of the Zionist movement to the present. A professor emerita at Tel Aviv University, Shapira is an Israel Prize laureate in history who has taught and written extensively on Jewish history in the 20th century.

Her work on “Israel: A History” was supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and was published as part of the Schusterman Series in Israel Studies. She says in the foreword that the project was the “brainchild” of Brandeis President-emeritus Jehuda Reinharz, one of the editors of the Schusterman series.

“This was a major project of the Schusterman Center — to provide a much needed text for students and an enlightened public throughout the world,” Ilan Troen, director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, said yesterday. “For all the discourse about Israel, there has, until Anita Shapira’s book, been no satisfying text that would weave together in an elegant fashion the political and cultural history of the country as well as place Israeli history within the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

Elana Maryles Sztokman won in the women’s studies category for her book "The Men's Section: Orthodox Jewish Men in an Egalitarian World."

A leading writer on issues of feminism, Judaism, Orthodoxy and education, Sztokman wrote her dissertation on the identity development of adolescent religious girls at Hebrew University. She then did post-doctoral research, supported by a grant from the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, that became the prize-winning book.

“The Men’s Section” focuses on the sociological phenomenon of Orthodox Jewish men who connect themselves to egalitarian or quasi-egalitarian religious enterprises, supporting the reconstruction of both male and female roles without leaving the Orthodox religious world.

“Gender roles are basic to our human and religious lives, and we are now living through a time of extraordinary and confusing changes,” Prof. Sylvia Barack Fishman, co- director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, said yesterday.  “Elana Sztokman’s compelling book gives us an insight into the un-stereotypical ways that some men are negotiating those changes.”

Jonathan Sarna, the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, was a finalist in the American Jewish Studies category for his book “When General Grant Expelled the Jews.”

Winners of the 2012 National Jewish Book Awards will be honored on March 14 at an awards gala at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan.

This year books were honored in 17 categories.

Categories: Humanities and Social Sciences, Research

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