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Leon Wieseltier Wins a Half Million Dollars

The TNR lion scores the Dan David Prize for his contributions to humanity

Adam Chandler
February 13, 2013

According to Politico, Leon Wieseltier–who once explained how his cowboy boots were better than mine and called me a sheygetz in the same conversation–has won a half million dollar Israeli prize for humanity.

The long-serving literary editor at the New Republic (and Tablet contributing editor) has remained an outsized figure, public intellectual, and personal hero to many across the decades. Wieseltier authored one of the finest Jewish books of all time, mercilessly slapped down excessive Bruce Springsteen enthusiasm, and famously dropped an f-bomb in his two-line cameo in the classic HBO show The Sopranos.

In its announcement, the Dan David Prize Board called Wieseltier “a foremost writer and thinker who confronts and engages with the central issues of our times, setting the standard for serious cultural discussion in the United States.”

We got in touch with the man of the hour himself and here’s what he told Tablet:

“I know there are those who think this is not possible, but I feel genuinely humbled. I plan to discover what life is like with somewhat less anxiety, and to do the same for some others; and I plan to vindicate this magnificent prize by carrying on.”

Mazel tov, Leon. And hook a brother up.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.