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Issac Babel and Ronald Sanders to Be Honored for Literary Contributions

Issac Babel, the late Soviet writer, and Ronald Sanders, an associate editor of Midstream magazine, will be honored at the annual meeting of B’nai B’rith’s Commission on Adult Jewish Education here on Feb. 22. Mr. Babel’s daughter, Nathalie Babel, will receive posthumous 1970 Jewish Heritage Award of B’nai B’rith “for excellence in Jewish literature,” and Mr. Sanders will receive the first “B’nai B’rith Book Award,” for his work “The Downtown Jews.” The awards are $1,000 and $500 respectively.

Mr. Babel wrote “Odessa Tales,” about Jewish life in his native city in the 1920’s. During the 1930’s he was accused of Trotskyism by the Stalin regime and sent to prison, where he died in 1941. His family did not know of his death until 1954. Mr. Sander’s book, “The Downtown Jews,” describes the political, social and economic fabric of the Jewish community on New York’s lower East Side and how Americanization came to the immigrants. Mr. Sanders has also written several books on Israel and on socialism. The “B’nai B’rith Book Award” was established by the organization to honor “a single work of distinction, published during the preceding year, on some aspect of Judaism or Jewish life.”

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