Henrietta Szold Biography Wins Top Book Awards
A groundbreaking biography of Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold has been awarded the top prize in this year’s National Jewish Book Awards.
To Repair a Broken World: The Life of Henrietta Szold, Founder of Hadassah by Dvora Hacohen (Harvard University Press) was named the Everett Family Foundation Book of the Year and also is the winner of the Biography Award in Memory of Sara Berenson Stone.
The Jewish Book Council describes the winning biography, which was excerpted in Hadassah Magazine last May, as follows: “Through diaries, archival documents, and letters, historian Dvora Hacohen presents a fascinating biography of Henrietta Szold — writer, editor, educator, and founder of Hadassah. Hacohen portrays the relentless passion of Szold, who devoted her life to creating opportunities both for Jewish women and the disadvantaged, as she sought to not only empower women, but also to foster a spirit of social cohesion and equality.”
Hacohen, a professor in the department of Israel studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, said she was “delighted” by the awards, not just for the honor of her scholarship but also because in the course of her research, she became a great admirer of Hadassah’s beloved founder.
“Szold reminded me of my mother, who was very alert to suffering people,” Hacohen said from her home in Jerusalem, adding that like Szold, her mother “tried her best to help and encourage needy women, and she volunteered to support them as much as she could.”
The journey of discovering the details of Szold’s life, Hacohen added, “led me to many places and to a number of special people,” including the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote in her foreward to the Szold biography how her own mother and, in turn, Ginsburg herself, was inspired by Szold’s fight for women’s equality and the rights of underprivileged people, regardless of religion, color or race.
This was the embodiment of Szold “in all her enterprises and projects,” said Hacohen, whose study is now adorned with a portrait of Szold.
A complete list of this year’s National Jewish Book Awards winners is here.