Dennis Ross, Shulem Deen Among 2015 National Jewish Book Awards Winners

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Dennis Ross speaks with Aluf Benn at the first Israel Conference on Democracy, Tel Aviv, February 17, 2015.Credit: David Bachar

Dennis Ross, a former top U.S. official, and Shulem Deen, who wrote about leaving the Hasidic world, were among the winners of the 2015 National Jewish Book Awards announced by the Jewish Book Council on Wednesday.

Awards were given in 19 categories. They will be presented March 9 at the Center for Jewish History in New York.

“Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle For Israel, 1917-1947,” a book by Bruce Hoffman about Jewish operations in pre-state Israel, was tapped as the Jewish Book of the Year.

Ross, President Barack Obama’s top Iran adviser from 2009 to 2011, was the winner in the history category for “Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama.” In the book, Ross said National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s failure to cultivate Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu contributed to a breakdown in U.S.-Israel communication.

Deen won in the contemporary Jewish life and practice category for his memoir, “All Who Go Do Not Return.” The former Skverer Hasid, who for years blogged under the pseudonym “Hasidic Rebel,” described his sheltered life in New Square, the virtually all-Hasidic village an hour north of New York City, and wrote of losing his faith and, ultimately, his five children.

Former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks won for his book, “Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence,” in the modern Jewish thought and experience category.

For fiction, the winner was “The Last Flight of Poxl West: A Novel,” by Daniel Torday.

The council has given out the annual awards recognizing outstanding books of Jewish interest since 1948.

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