Lagnado receives Rohr prize in Jerusalem

Lucette Lagnado, accepted the coveted $100,000 prize for her memoir The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit.

books 88 (photo credit: )
books 88
(photo credit: )
The Jewish Book Council's Sami Rohr awards for Jewish non-fiction were officially bestowed upon its winners on Thursday night, April 24, following a festive, kosher-for-Passover buffet dinner gala at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. The awards were founded in 2006 by Sami Rohr's three children to honor the businessman and philanthropist's love for Jewish literature by promoting and encouraging emerging Jewish writers. The $100,000 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature is the most lucrative of Jewish book awards and alternates every year between fiction and non-fiction. The second annual award ceremony was hosted by author Joseph Telushkin and welcomed the Rohr family, award winners, Jewish Book Council affiliates, and this year's judges: David Ellenson, Samuel G. Freedman, Rela Mintz Geffen, Ari L. Goldman, Yossi Klein Halevi, Deborah Lipstadt, Nessa Rappaport, Jonathan C. Sarna and Telushkin. Lucette Lagnado, a Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, accepted the coveted $100,000 prize from Sami Rohr's son, George Rohr, for her memoir The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit. The book chronicles her family's exodus from the once vibrant and little-known Jewish community of Cairo to its difficult adjustment in the United States. In an animated acceptance speech, Lagnado remarked how the multi-cultural nature of Jerusalem, a city she had not visited in years, reminded her of her native Cairo. She had received an enormous response for her book from Egyptian "ex-pats-not only Jews, but Christians and Muslims who lived in this glittering place that Egypt once was," she said. Sami Rohr's children also presented the $7,500 Sami Rohr Choice Awards to Eric L. Goldstein for The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity and Ilana M. Blumberg for House of Study: A Jewish Women Among Books. Last year's inaugural award ceremony for fiction was held in New York.