Friday, June 26, 2009

"On One Foot" Blog Wins Prestigious Journalism Prize

I'm humbled and proud to announce that this blog and its author have been recognized with a prestigious journalism award today at the 28th annual American Jewish Press Association Awards ceremony in Chicago. See all the winners listed here.

In the AJPA category, "Award for Excellence in a Single Commentary," I won for the blog entry, "An Open Letter to Malcolm Hoenlein ," calling on Jewish community leaders to initiate procedures leading to the excommunication of Bernard Madoff. The article appeared initially on this blog, but it was later distributed widely by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), so the column was awarded in the category for newspapers, magazines and websites with circulation of over 15,000.

In the award winning article, I wrote, "Our own children are watching us. If the communal response to Madoff is concerted, unified and reasonable, this could be American Jewry’s finest hour. If not, it will be the continuation of our worst nightmare."

The AJPA receives over 800 submissions for the Rockower awards every year in 15 categories that include news reporting, investigative journalism, cartooning, feature writing, and commentary. The Rockowers are considered the highest honor in Jewish journalism.

The American Jewish Press Association was founded in 1944 as a voluntary not-for-profit professional association for the English-language Jewish Press in North America. Its membership currently consists of about 250 newspapers, magazines, individual journalists and affiliated organizations throughout the United States and Canada. AJPA member publications reach a combined readership of more than 2.5 million. The AJPA mission has remained constant over the years: to enhance the status of American Jewish journalism and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and cooperative activities among the American Jewish press. The Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism are given out at the AJPA’s annual conference at the end of June. Known to some as the ‘Jewish Pulitzers,’ the awards were initiated in 1980 to promote quality Jewish journalism.

I am humbled to be recognized in this way, as I felt that my comments on Madoff resonated with so many - Jews and others - who felt frustrated at the paralysis reflected in the initial responses of Jewish leaders to this cataclysm. It was my own congregants who inspired me to be more vocal on this topic. I hope that this honor might inspire others to speak out.

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