The annual American Jewish Press Association’s Simon Rockower Awards recognize excellence in Jewish journalism. Once again, the Jewish Independent has been honoured with a Rockower for its work, winning first prize in its circulation category for editorial writing.
The JI’s editorial board – Basya Laye, Pat Johnson and Cynthia Ramsay – were recognized for the op-eds “How we memorialize the past,” “Sukkah more than symbolic” and “The year it all changed.” All of these editorials – and other opinion pieces and articles published by the JI can be found at jewishindependent.ca.
“The year it all changed” (June 2, 2017) discusses the turning point that Canada’s 100th birthday represented, when we “came into our own as a country,” and the significance of that year for Israel and Diaspora Jews: “The Six Day War, which began June 5, 1967, literally and figuratively reshaped Israel, the Middle East, Diaspora Jewry and global diplomacy.”
“How we memorialize the past” (Sept. 1, 2017) uses the racist rally in Charlottesville, Va., which “was ignited, ostensibly, by the removal (or threatened removal) of Confederate commemorative statues and plaques,” as a jumping off point to talk about how communities and societies commemorate the people and events of the past, including here in Canada.
Finally, “Sukkah more than symbolic” (Oct. 6, 2017) notes, “For most of us, the sukkah is but a symbol of our wandering in the desert all those years ago, a symbol to remind us to be humble, empathetic, grateful. However, for many living in Metro Vancouver, including members of our own community, homelessness is a reality.” It highlights some of the initiatives undertaken by Tikva Housing Society and the barriers to finding housing. It notes that indigenous people continue to represent the highest proportion of homeless, and that there are tens of thousands of people at risk of becoming homeless. It concludes, “there is a lot of work to be done.”
This year’s awards – honouring articles published in 2017 – were presented at the 37th Annual Simon Rockower Awards banquet, held in conjunction with the AJPA’s 2018 annual conference June 17-19 in Cleveland, Ohio. Second place in the under-15,000 circulation category went to the St. Louis Jewish Light, based in St. Louis, Mo. Winners in the 15,000-plus circulation category were the Forward (New York, N.Y.), taking first place, and the Jewish Standard (Teaneck, N.J.) placing second.