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Excellence in Jewish journalism: The Rockower Awards

Below is the full list of winners of the 32nd Annual Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism:

Category 1: The Louis Rapoport Award for Excellence in Commentary

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; all Magazines/Web-Based Outlets

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

  • First Place: Intermountain Jewish News, Denver
    Black hole and the light of faith” by Hillel Goldberg
    Comments: Three eloquent essays that combine brilliant style with forceful advocacy.
  • Second Place: The Rockland Jewish Federation Reporter, West Nyack, N.Y.
    “The canary in the coal mine,” “Not so different, yet worlds apart,” “Just one minute” by Marla Cohen
    Comments: Insightful and well written personal commentary.

Category 2: Award for Excellence in Single Commentary

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; all Magazines/Web-Based Outlets.

  • First Place: Hadassah Magazine, New York
    Letter from Jerusalem: Triage for founding values” by Gershom Gorenberg
    Comments: Excellent analysis of Israel’s past and future struggle for its domestic identity – and extremely well written. Incisive historical perspective, yet very forward-looking. Great use of Jared Diamond, and a wonderful play on words in the all-important closing paragraph.
  • Second Place: Jewish Standard, Teaneck, N.J.
    “Obama’s distorted Israel image” by Shammai Engelmayer
    Comments: It is a well-executed political commentary.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

Category 3: Award for Excellence in Personal Essay

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; all Magazines/Web-Based Outlets.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

Category 4: Award for Excellence in Editorial Writing

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; all Magazines/Web-Based Outlets.

  • Second Place: j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California, San Francisco
    “Ode to a Kitchen Table,” “Anat Hoffman arrest at Wall is a shanda,” “Tit-for-tat provocations impede peace”

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

  • First Place: Jewish Independent, Vancouver
    “Focusing on motives,” “Four other questions,” “Jerusalem: A Jewish city” by staff

Category 5: The Boris Smolar Award for Excellence in Enterprise or Investigative Reporting

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; all Magazines/Web-Based Outlets.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

  • First Place: The Boiling Point, Los Angeles
    “Jewish life is improving at UCs” by Tamar Willis

Category 6: Award for Excellence in News Reporting

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; all Magazines/Web-Based Outlets.

  • First Place: Jewish Standard, Teaneck, N.J.
    “Love and hate in Bergen County” by Larry Yudelson, Charles Zusman, Josh Lipowsky and Abigail Klein Leichman

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

  • First Place: Chicago Jewish News, Skokie
    Campus showdown” by Pauline Yearwood
    Comments: Strong reporting gave new insight to a complicated fight within Chicago’s Jewish community. The story explained the issue from all sides with clarity.
  • Second Place:Intermountain Jewish News, Denver
    Is marijuana kosher?” by Chris Leppek
    Comments: An interesting take on an issue that was in the news statewide, this story raised new questions and brought in a wide range of opinion.

Category 7: Award for Excellence in Feature Writing

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over.

  • First Place: Hamodia, Brooklyn, New York
    The lost Jewish world – A visit to contemporary Lithuania” by Evelyne Singer and Ruth Lichtenstein
    Comments: A well-researched, well-reported and deeply felt look at a lost Jewish world. It showed, in heart-breaking detail, the vitality of that community, how little is left today and the horror of what happened in between.
  • Second Place: JTA, New York
    For Jewish Deadheads, the music never stopped” by Chavie Lieber
    Comments: A thorough and well-written look at yet another of the myriad ways to be Jewish today. Informative, vividly reported and a delight to read.

Division B. Newspapers from 7,500 to 14,999 circulation.

  • First Place: Chicago Jewish News, Skokie
    “Savers of the lost ark” by Pauline Yearwood
  • Second Place: Intermountain Jewish News, Denver
    “Cremation vs. burial: the final act” by Andrea Jacobs

Division C. Newspapers from 1-7,499 circulation.

  • First Place: Jewish Independent, Vancouver
    “What Hebrew do we speak?” by Nurit Dekel

Division D. Magazines/Special Sections and Supplements/Web-Based Outlets.

  • First Place: Hadassah Magazine, New York
    “A legacy in harmony” by Tom Tugend
  • Second Place: Jewish Action (Orthodox Union), New York
    Striking a balance: Work & family” by Barbara Bensoussan, Azriela Jaffe, Tova Ross, Nechama Carmel and Rashel Zywica

Category 8: Award for Excellence in Arts and Criticism News and Features

Division A. Critical analysis/review, usually of a single artistic endeavor, whether in literature, theater, film or fine arts and crafts. All Newspapers and Magazine/Special Sections and Supplements/Web-Based Outlets.

  • First Place: Jewish News of Greater Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ
    Dylan, Cohen: Loins in winter” by Salvatore Caputo
    Comments: The writing here flows with such natural fluidity, it is irresistible. The writer displays a deep knowledge of his subjects and impressive critical skills.
  • Second Place: JTA, New York
    “Is HBO’s ‘Girls’ about young women’s struggles, or some women’s privileges?” by Dvora Meyers
    Comments: Superlative writing and trenchant critical comments. Particularly strong opening paragraph and closing sentence.

Division B. Reporting on an artistic endeavor, trend, movement or personality, whether in literature, theater, film or fine arts and crafts. All Newspapers and Magazine/Special Sections and Supplements/Web-Based Outlets.

  • First Place: Intermountain Jewish News, Denver
    The victory of Jewish music over evil” by Andrea Jacobs
    Comments: A beautifully written profile of a man, a choral group and the role of music in both Jewish liturgy and the Holocaust. The writer’s emotional and intellectual engagement with the subject is obvious. This story told me things I didn’t know, and made me want to learn more.
  • Second Place: Na’amat Woman, New York
    Helene Aylon” by Judith A. Sokoloff
    Comments: This is a smart, sophisticated and admirably in-depth profile of an artist who both uses Judaism and questions Judaism in her work.

Category 9: The David Frank Award for Excellence in Personality Profiles

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over.

First Place: j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California, San Francisco
Road to atonement” by Alix Wall
Comments: What struck me about this story was the breadth of reporting. The reporter tried to contact the victim’s family; she spoke to people who knew him in prison, etc.

Second Place: Jewish Exponent, Philadelphia
His central business: Peace among people” by Bryan Schwartzman
Comments: Fascinating story. Flows smoothly and well reported.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

Division C. Magazines/Special Sections and Supplements/Web-Based Outlets.

  • First Place: Hadassah Magazine, New York
    Profile: Amos Oz” by Rahel Musleah

Category 10: Award for Excellence in Special Sections or Supplements

Division A: Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over.

  • First Place: Hamodia, Brooklyn, New York
    “Hurricane Sandy” by staff and Ruth Lichtenstein

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

  • First Place: Jewish Voice, Wilmington
    “Shalom Delaware” by Seth J. Katzen, Carolyn Katwan and Shoshana Martyniak
  • Second Place: St. Louis Jewish Light, St. Louis
    “Israel alive” by Ellen Futterman, Mike Sherwin, Richard Weiss and Larry Levin

Division C. Magazines.

  • First Place: Hadassah Magazine, New York
    August/September – Centennial issue by Alan M. Tigay

Category 11: Award for Excellence in Organizational Newsletters

Division A. Organizational Hard Copy.

  • First Place: NCSY, New York
    Ignite – Spring (Passover) 2012 by Duvi Stahler, Tova Flancbaum and Scott Saunders
    Comments: Your compelling stories, particularly the “Spotlights” section, and bright colors convey energy and likely will appeal to your target audience.

Division B. eNewsletter.

  • First Place: Intermountain Jewish News, Denver
    IJN Weekly eNewsletter by Shana Goldberg
    Comments: Your front pages are laid out well for easy scanning by readers, without scrolling down a long page. Concise teasers lead to feature story pages via “read more” buttons, and sidebars offer additional news, community calendar etc. Very user friendly!

Category 12: Award for Excellence in Writing About Women

  • First Place: Hadassah Magazine, New York
    Family Matters: Pure and prosaic” by Miriam Karp
    Comments: Karp’s is a beautiful, spiritual, personal essay about completing tahara – ritual purification of the deceased – for the first time. Her pacing is exquisite, her tone is deeply respectful, and her account is marked by lovely attention to detail. Karp’s experience, and her meditation on it, leaves the reader awed.
  • Second Place: The Boiling Point, Los Angeles
    Going solo: New view of ‘kol isha’ lets girls sing on their own” by Rebecca Mandel
    Comments: Mandel explores in a thorough, informative and sensitive way the tension between tradition and change at a coed Modern Orthodox day school in L.A. By describing from every angle the school’s decision to allow women to sing solos, in contravention of traditional Orthodox interpretations of a Biblical phrase, she makes an otherwise hard-to-grasp issue accessible to non-Orthodox readers. Her story resonates at a time when Jewish women in the U.S. and Israel are seeking a greater voice in religious affairs, and her reporting and storytelling skills impress.

Category 13: The Jacob Rader Marcus Award for Journalistic Excellence in American Jewish History

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; all Magazines/Special Sections and Supplements/Web-Based Outlets.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

Category 14: Award for Excellence in Overall Graphic Design

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

Division C. Magazines/Special Sections and Supplements/Web-Based Outlets.

  • First Place: Hadassah Magazine, New York
    June/July, August/September and October/November issues by Jodie Berzin Rossi

Category 15: Award for Excellence in Graphic Design: COVER

Division A. Magazines. Submit one (1) cover for the contest year.

  • First Place: NCSY, New York
    Ignite – Fall (Rosh Hashanah) 2012 Issue by Duvi Stahler, Tova Flancbaum, Michael Orbach, Andres Moncayo and Benji Cheirif
    Comments: Excellent photo choice, restrained design. Matching the color in the masthead to the photo is a nice touch.

Division B. Newspapers (encompasses weekly and non-weekly newspapers). Submit three (3) covers from the contest year.

  • First Place: j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California, San Francisco
    May 4, October 12 and December 14, 2012 covers by Cathleen Maclearie
    Comments: j.’s covers are always designed with style and grace.
  • Second Place: Chicago JUF News, Chicago
    May, July and September 2012 covers by Alyssa Zeller

Category 16: The Noah Bee Award for Excellence in Illustrating and/or Editorial Cartooning

Division A. Cartoons.

Division B. Illustrations.

Category 17: Award for Excellence in Photography

Division A. All Newspapers.

Division B. Magazines/Special Sections and Supplements/Web-Based Outlets.

  • First Place: Hadassah Magazine, New York
    Suited for action,” June/July cover by Debbie Zimelman

Category 18: Award for Outstanding Website

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

  • First Place: St. Louis Jewish Light, St. Louis
    www.stljewishlight.com by Mike Sherwin, Agatha Gallagher and Tom Wombacher

Division D. Web-Based Outlets.

  • Second Place: InterfaithFamily.com, Newton Upper Falls, Mass.
    www.InterfaithFamily.com by Benjamin Maron, Heather Martin and Ed Case

Category 19: Award for Excellence in a Multi-Media Story

Division A. Jewish Media News Outlets.

Division B. Jewish Organizations.

  • First Place: Jewish National Fund, New York
    Positively Israel” by Megan Taylor and Ezra Chasser
    Comments: This website used many multimedia elements to tell its story, including an annotated map, videos and links for people to take action.

Category 20: Award for Excellence in Blogging

  • First Place: JTA, New York
    “Capital J” by Ron Kampeas
    Comments: Ron Kampeas rocks the blog format: his writing is warm and conversational, informal, but still always thoughtful. It’s creative — using text and images and video — and still has the kind of precision you hear in good jazz improv.
  • Second Place: Chicago JUF News, Chicago
    “That’s Feminist, with a Capital ‘F,’” “Training the Black Dog,” “Progress” by Linda Haase
    Comments: I just loved Linda Haase’s pieces: her posts, like many of the best blogs, are highly first-person subjective, but unlike many of the worst, are not a festival of narcissistic TMI. She’s a really fine writer and I’ll look for her in the future.
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