Jonathan Decter wins 2018 National Jewish Book Award

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Jonathan Decter wins 2018 National Jewish Book Award

Jonathan DecterPhoto/Mike Lovett

Jonathan Decter, the Edmond J. Safra Professor of Sephardic Studies

By Julian Cardillo ’14Jan. 9, 2019

Book cover: Dominion built of Praise by Jonathan Decter. Cover features ancient manuscript.

“Dominion Built of Praise: Panegyric and Legitimacy Among Jews in the Medieval Mediterranean” (University of Pennsylvania Press)

Brandeis professor Jonathan Decter won the Jewish Book Council’s 2018 National Jewish Book Award in the field of Sephardic culture for his work “Dominion Built of Praise: Panegyric and Legitimacy Among Jews in the Medieval Mediterranean” (University of Pennsylvania Press).

Decter’s book focuses on Jewish centers in the Islamic Mediterranean between the tenth and thirteenth centuries as well as Jews in the Christian Mediterranean through the fifteenth century.

He will accept the Mimi S. Frank Award in Memory of Becky Levy on March 5 at a gala in New York City.

Brandeis professor Lynn Kaye’s book, “Time in the Babylonian Talmud: Natural Imaged Times in Jewish Law and Narrative” (Cambridge University Press) was also a finalist for the National Jewish Book Council’s Nahum M. Sarna Memorial Award for Scholarship.

Book cover: Time in the Babylonian Talmud by Lynn Kaye

“Time in the Babylonian Talmud: Natural Imaged Times in Jewish Law and Narrative” (Cambridge University Press)

The award is named after former Brandeis professor and biblical scholar Nahum Sarna, the late father of Jonathan Sarna ’75, MA’75, University Professor, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies director, and Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History.

At Brandeis, Kaye is an assistant professor of Rabbinic literature and thought in near eastern and Judaic studies.

Book cover: Pennies for Heaven by Daniel Judson

“Pennies for Heaven: The History of American Synagogues and Money” (Brandeis University Press)

The National Jewish Book Council also named Brandeis University Press’ “Pennies for Heaven: The History of American Synagogues and Money” by Rabbi Daniel Judson PhD ’15 a finalist for the Celebrate 350 Award in American Jewish Studies.

Judson worked on the book, which considers Jewish places of worship through an economic lens, while at Brandeis as part of his 2015 doctoral dissertation in near eastern and Judaic studies.

The Jewish Book Council has conferred awards to 680 books in the last 68 years to recognize literature and encourage authors to write on themes of Jewish interest. 

The National Jewish Book Award started in 1950 and is the longest running award of its kind.