Novel on a Muslim-Jewish scholar’s quest wins Sami Rohr Prize

The $100,000 prize, a program of the Jewish Book Council, was announced Tuesday.

May 2, 2019 05:55
1 minute read.
Israel Egypt

The 11th century letter found in the Cairo Geniza, believed to be from a woman in Israel to her brother in Egypt. (photo credit: REPRODUCED BY PERMISSION OF THE SYNDICS OF CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY/FRIEDBERG GENIZAH PROJECT WE)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


NEW YORK (JTA) — Michael David Lukas is the winner of the 2019 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for his book “The Last Watchmen of Old Cairo.”

The $100,000 prize, a program of the Jewish Book Council, was announced Tuesday. It recognizes emerging writers who articulate the Jewish experience, as well as the author’s potential to make significant ongoing contributions to Jewish literature.

Lukas was among five finalists for the prize. Dalia Rosenfeld, author of “The Worlds We Think We Know” was picked as the Choice Award winner, which carries an $18,000 prize. The remaining finalists — Rachel Kadish, Mark Sarvas and Margot Singer — each receive $5,000.

Lukas’ historical fiction book tells stories related to the Cairo Geniza, a disposal receptacle which contained some 300,000 Jewish documents from different communities, shedding light on a thousand years of Jewish life in the Middle East and North Africa.

The book imagines various people involved in bringing the documents to Cambridge University and studying them, including scholar and rabbi Solomon Schechter. It takes place in Cairo during various time periods, including the 11th and 19th centuries and present day. The prize announcement called the book “[i]mpressive and beautifully written.”

“What an honor to be chosen for this prize, and to have my name listed alongside such an amazing group of writers,” Lukas said in the Tuesday statement.

The Rohr Prize, which has been awarded annually since 2007, considers works of fiction and nonfiction in alternating years. It was created by the late businessman and philanthropist Sami Rohr.

Last year’s winner was Ilana Kurshan, author of “If All the Seas Were Ink: A Memoir.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Malmo synagogue in Sweden.
June 24, 2019
Melchior: Money from Philanthropists going towards 'securing Jewish future' in Malmo


Cookie Settings