The American Jewish Press Association presented The Jewish Transcript with a first-place honor in its Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism at the organization’s annual meeting in Denver earlier this month. And during the American Jewish Press Association’s business meeting, new officers were chosen, including Transcript Editor Donna Gordon Blankinship, who was elected third vice president.
Correspondent Rivy Kletenik was honored for her story “Letter from Rivy: A mother shares her impressions of life in Israel,” which was published Dec. 8, 2000, during her sabbatical year in Israel.
An excerpt from Kletenik’s article helps explains why it touched hearts in our community and of the judges of this prestigious journalism award:
“It is after 10 on a school night. The kids are going to bed. There is shooting in the background. A gun battle in Gilo, again. Last night it was an attack at the Tomb of Rachel. Honestly, I have led a sheltered life and never thought the day would come when I would go to sleep to the sound of people trying to kill each other. I’ve got an overactive imagination. I picture the soldiers, in their uniforms, their mothers, the children in the neighborhoods, in the direct line of fire. And the tears come. It is hard enough for me to say to our 13-year-old twins: Don’t worry, it’s nothing, go to bed. Because, you see, I know better, it is something. But what would you do?
“Our new definition of a good day, taken from the words of Eli Kletenik: Did anyone get killed today? He asks when we meet at our bus stop in town, ‘No? Okay, it’s a good day.’ We haven’t had one of those in a while.”
Other frequent contributors to The Transcript also won Rockower Awards, including cartoonist Steve Greenberg, who won the first place Noah Bee Award for Excellence in Editorial Cartooning or Illustrating for a cartoon published in the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency won four awards. Photographer Brian Hendler took both first- and second-place honors for newspaper photography. For an article on David Irving’s failed lawsuit against American scholar Deborah Lipstadt — in which he accused her of ruining his career by labeling him a Holocaust denier — Douglas Davis, JTA’s London correspondent, was awarded second place in the excellence in news reporting category.
JTA staff writer Julie Wiener won an honorable mention in the comprehensive or investigative reporting category for a series of articles titled “Redefining the Synagogue,” which was published in The Transcript‘s Rosh Hashanah issue last year.
The purpose of the Rockower Awards, established in 1980, is to provide incentive for Jewish media to improve their publications and develop quality journalism.