The 39th annual Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism were presented virtually on July 2. Given by the American Jewish Press Association – whose membership consists of newspapers, magazines, websites, other electronic Jewish media organizations, individual journalists and affiliated organizations throughout the United States and Canada – the Jewish Independent garnered three prizes and an honourable mention for its work in 2019.
The JI competes in the 14,999-circulation-and-under division and swept that division in the Personal Essay category, winning first and second place. “Reflecting on my Jewish hero” by Becca Wertman about her grandfather (April 12, 2019) won first prize, while “Folk choir celebrates 40th” by Victor Neuman about the Vancouver Jewish Folk Choir’s 40th anniversary (May 10) placed second.
Neuman’s eight-part series on his life in Israel around the time of the 1973 Yom Kippur (Sept. 20 through Nov. 15) won first place in the 14,999-circulation-and-under division. And, in that division, Shelley Civkin’s Accidental Balabusta series received an honourable mention in the Excellence in Writing About Food and Wine category.
In the larger paper division, Canadian Jewish News, which closed its doors this year, won three first-place awards for its work in 2019. “A funeral for a survivor no one knew” by Zale Newman (Feb. 14) won the Award for Excellence in Personal Essay; “Navigating organ donation in Judaism” by Lila Sarick (June 6) won the Chaim Sheba Medical Centre Award for Excellence in Writing about Health Care; and “Rise of the vegan Jew” by Michael Fraiman (Oct. 3) won the Award for Excellence in Writing about Food and Wine.
To find out about all the other winners, visit ajpa.org/2020-competition.