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Mandy Clarke
Indiana University Press

Last modified: Thursday, February 2, 2012

National Prayer Breakfast invitation, book awards mark success for IU Press authors

Feb. 2, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Alick Isaacs, author of the Indiana University Press-published book "A Prophetic Peace," attended the 60th National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., today, Feb. 2, capping a season of honors for IU Press books in the field of Jewish studies and their authors.

The awards and honors demonstrate Indiana University Press' lasting relevance for scholarship, teaching and learning, notably in the area of Jewish studies, said Janet Rabinowitch, director of IU Press.

The National Prayer Breakfast is an interfaith gathering of men and women to discuss political and social issues. President Barack Obama, members of Congress and other dignitaries gathered with leaders from across the country and around the world.

Isaacs was invited in recognition of his Talking Peace project, the aim of which is to bring individuals of different views together to share varying understandings of peace. The project is sponsored by Mishkenot Sha'ananim, an international cultural center in Jerusalem.

Isaacs writes that his combat experience in the second Lebanon war provoked him to search for a way of reconciling the belligerence of religion with its messages of peace, challenging deeply held convictions about Judaism, Zionism, war and peace. In his readings of Biblical prophecy and rabbinic law, Isaacs draws on the writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Jacques Derrida, Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Buber, among others, to propose an ambitious vision of religiously inspired peace. Rejecting the notion of Jewish theology as partial to war and vengeance, "A Prophetic Peace" points to the ways in which Judaism can be a path to peace.

In addition to Isaacs' attendance of the prayer breakfast, recent honors for IU Press books include:

  • The Jewish Book Council named "Gender and Jewish History," edited by Marion A. Kaplan and Deborah Dash Moore, the winner in the Anthologies and Collections category of the 2011 National Jewish Book Awards. "Modern Ladino Culture," Olga Borovaya's study focusing on the three major forms of Ladino literacy production, was a finalist in the Sephardic Culture category.
  • The American Academy for Jewish Research named "Law and Truth in Biblical and Rabbinic Literature," by Chaya T. Halberstam, the winner of the 2010 Salo Wittmayer Baron Prize. The prize is awarded annually to a first-time author of an outstanding book in Jewish studies.
  • The American Jewish Historical Society has named three IU Press publications as Essential Readings in American Jewish History for 2010: "Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora," by Rebecca Kobrin; "The Prophetic Minority," by Gerald Sorin; and "Judaism's Encounter with American Sports," by Jeffrey S. Gurock.

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