July 14, 2024
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YU Creates Rabbi Lord Sacks Book Prize for Jewish Thought

“A great book is a life-enlarging journey of the mind.”—Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

(Courtesy of YU) Rabbi Sacks, zt”l, lived a life surrounded by books, those he read and those he wrote. In this spirit, Dr. Erica Brown, vice provost for values and leadership and inaugural director of the Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks-Herenstein Center for Values and Leadership, announced the creation of Yeshiva University’s Sacks Book Prize, generously funded by the Rohr family. “Rabbi Sacks believed profoundly in the power of the written word,” said Brown. “Presenting a new literary award in his honor is an important recognition of his commitment to the flourishing of the Jewish bookshelf.”

The Sacks Book Prize will be awarded to an author of a recently published or about-to-be-published work (six months before or six months after publication) of Jewish ideas deeply sourced in Jewish texts, with broad appeal within and beyond the Jewish community. The author of the winning work will be awarded a $50,000 prize. Additional funds will be used to help the author promote the book through events, marketing and book distribution.

The winner and two finalists will be determined by an independent committee in cooperation with The Rabbi Sacks Legacy Trust based in the United Kingdom. Lady Elaine Sacks, Rabbi Sacks’ widow, will serve as one of the Prize’s five judges.

“We hope that, in reflecting Rabbi Sacks’ legacy, the prize will meaningfully deepen and broaden the impact of Jewish scholarship in the arena of contemporary Jewish thought. We’re honored to be part of its launch,” said George Rohr.

Yeshiva University President Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman believes this prize will inspire new voices in print and honor the work of established authors: “We are thrilled to partner with the Rohr family who appreciate the influence and importance of books in shaping the Jewish future. With this prize, they will catalyze more inspired and inspiring Jewish writing and scholarship.”

The Sacks-Herenstein Center, founded by Terri and Andrew Herenstein, is committed to the leadership development of students, communal leaders, educators, and writers, inspired by Judaism’s wisdom and Yeshiva University’s core Torah values. Through a series of academic, communal, educational and literary initiatives, the Center cultivates values-based Jewish thought and training opportunities in the spirit of Rabbi Sacks’ wisdom. The Center identifies and grows emerging talent for positions of communal influence and impact. Graduates of its programs will lead in classrooms, boardrooms, and the public sphere.

To learn more about the Sacks-Herenstein Center, visit https://www.yu.edu/sacks-center.

To learn the submission guidelines for the Sacks Book Prize, visit https://
www.yu.edu/sacksbookprize.

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