The 41st J.I. Segal Awards Gala of the Jewish Public Library honoured the winners in eight categories on Jewish themes. These prestigious awards, presented every two years, are designed to encourage and reward creative works on Jewish themes and to perpetuate the memory of the great Canadian Yiddish poet J.I. Segal. The prizes were awarded at a public ceremony on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. at the Gelber Conference Centre in the Jewish Public Library, 1 Cummings Square (5151 Côte Ste-Catherine Road), Montreal. For information, call 514-345-2627 ext. 3017 or visit www.jewishpubliclibrary.org.
This year 10 recipients were awarded in the following eight categories:
Prof. David E. Fishman and Boris Sandler for the Dr. Hirsch and Dora Rosenfeld Prize for Yiddish and Hebrew Literature;
Rhea Tregebov for the Shulamis Yelin Prize in English Fiction and Poetry Prize on a Jewish Theme;
Jeffrey Veidlinger for the Tauben Prize in English Non-Fiction on a Jewish Theme;
Maurice Chalom for the Prize in French Literature on a Jewish Theme;
Moshe Dor for the Barbara Kay Prize in Translation of a Book on a Jewish Theme;
Esther Trépanier and Allan Levine for the Prize in Canadian Jewish Studies;
Nira Friedman for the Yaacov Zipper Prize in Education;
Garry Beitel for the Michael Moskovitz Prize in Film on a Jewish Theme.
Rhea Tregebov’s debut novel The Knife Sharpener’s Bell has been selected the winner in the the category of Prize in English Fiction and Poetry on a Jewish Theme. of the prestigious The last winner in 2008 was Leonard Cohen for The Book of Longing. Other past award winners include Irving Layton and Adele Wiseman.
Jury citation: “In reading, we adventured from the pale of Russia to the suburbs of Toronto to the fields of Saskatchewan—in both verse and prose. The decision was indeed difficult. Rhea Tregebov’s first novel The Knife Sharpener’s Bell stood out for the beauty of its prose, the ambition of its scope, and the strength of its story. [Tregebov’s] sensitivity to language and attentiveness to history are both evident in this riveting bildungsroman, which has already garnered other award nominations and considerable critical attention. We congratulate her on this debut novel, and we look forward to her future books.”
The J.I. Segal Awards of the Jewish Public Library are made possible by the J.I. Segal Cultural Foundation, founded by the late Dr. Hirsh Rosenfeld and Mrs. Dvora Rosenfeld. They were established in 1968 to honour and perpetuate the memory of J.I. Segal, and to foster Jewish cultural creativity in Canada.
J.I. Segal (1896-1954) is acknowledged as one of the most respected Yiddish poets. His work is characterized by its deep lyrical expression and evocation of the dignity of Jewish life in the Eastern European shtetl and in Canada. Segal strove to show that “a people and its culture are inseparable.” His poetry lives on in Yiddish and in translation.