Four Princeton University Press books have been recognized by the 2022 National Jewish Book Awards, announced today.
American Shtetl: The Making of Kiryas Joel, a Hasidic Village in Upstate New York by Nomi M. Stolzberg and David N. Myers has won a 2022 National Jewish Book Award in the American Jewish Studies category. Hailed as “extraordinary and riveting” (New Yorker) and “brilliant, eye-opening, thought provoking” (Times of Israel), American Shtetl tells the incredible story of Kiryas Joel, an American town with few parallels in Jewish history—but many precedents among religious communities in the United States. Settled in the 1970s by a small contingent of Hasidic families, Kiryas Joel has grown to become a thriving insular enclave and a powerful local government. Rejecting the norms of mainstream American society, the community has been stunningly successful in creating a world apart by using the very instruments of secular political and legal power that it disavows.
Stolzenberg, the Nathan and Lilly Shapell Chair at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, and Myers, the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History at the University of California, Los Angeles, show how constant legal and political battles defined and even bolstered Kiryas Joel. Unravelling the strands of cultural and legal conflict that gave rise to one of the most vibrant religious communities in America, the authors reveal a way of life shaped by both self-segregation and unwitting assimilation.
Two PUP books—In Hitler’s Munich: Jews, Revolution, and the Rise of Nazism by Michael Brenner, a gripping account of how Bavaria’s capital city became the testing ground for Nazism and the Final Solution, and The Shamama Case: Contesting Citizenship Across the Modern Mediterranean by Jessica M. Marglin, which details how a nineteenth-century lawsuit over the estate of a wealthy Tunisian Jew shines new light on the history of belonging—were named finalists in the History category. Professor of Apocalypse: The Many Lives of Jacob Taubes by Jerry Z. Muller, a “fascinating, judicious” portrait (New York Times) of the enigmatic and controversial twentieth century intellectual, was named a finalist in the Biography category.
National Jewish Book Awards are administered annually by the Jewish Books Council. Given across more than eighteen categories, the Awards recognize authors, and encourage reading, of “outstanding English-language books of Jewish interest.” Recent National Jewish Book Award recipients from PUP’s list include Time and Difference in Rabbinic Judaism by Sarit Kattan Gribetz and Jews and Their Roman Rivals by Katell Berthelot.