As gauche and unseemly as it may be, permit us, just once this year, to blow our own horn.
The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles has earned 10 Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism from the American Jewish Press Association (AJPA) -- and one of our longtime contributors has been honored with a lifetime service award.
The 21st annual awards ceremony, for work published in 2001, was held last week in Evanston, Ill.,
The Rockower Awards began in 1980 to help provide an incentive for Jewish media to improve their publications and develop quality journalism. The 150 members of the AJPA, which includes all major Jewish weeklies, submit entries for judging. (The Journal competes against papers with 15,000-circulation or more, such as The Forward and The Jewish Week of New York.)
A panel of professional journalists and journalism professors selects the winners. This year's judges included Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe, Todd Leopold of CNN, Jim Remsen of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Regina Brett of The Cleveland Plain Dealer and Sam Freedman, professor of journalism at Columbia University.
The Journal received twice as many awards for writing as any other major Jewish newspaper. Journal Contributing Editor Tom Tugend also received the Joseph Polakoff Award for Distinguished Service to Jewish Journalism (see profile next week). The awards are:
Israel Ministry of Tourism Mosaic Award for Excellence in Feature Writing About Israeli Peoplehood, Culture and Society: All Newspapers and Magazines
Rabbi Daniel Gordis, "Sunday Mourning" -- First Place
David Margolis "On the Road" -- Second Place
The Louis Rapport Award for Excellence in Commentary and Editorial Writing
Gina Nahai, "The Chinese Box" -- Second Place
Marlene Adler Marks, "The Waiting Room" -- Third Place
Excellence in News Reporting
Sheldon Teitelbaum, "How Cookie Crumbled" -- Second Place
Excellence in Feature Writing
Julie Fax, "Sing a New Song" -- First Place
The David Frank Award for Excellence in Personality
Naomi Pfefferman, "Redefining Beauty" -- Second Place
Michael Aushenker, "Ask the Rabbi" -- Third Place
The Microvoice Award for Excellence in Writing About Singles: All Newspapers
Teresa Strasser, "When Booty Calls" -- Third Place
Excellence in Coverage of Sept. 11, 2001: All Newspapers and Magazines
The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles -- Third Place
We are very proud of these awards. They are the result of the hard work and talent of their recipients, and we thank them for their contribution to the paper.
The Journal is also a collective enterprise, and we know that at least a part of each award is shared by the business, production, design and editorial departments that work hard to produce this paper each week of the year.
Our publisher and board have been, this year as in years past, nothing but supportive and understanding. They understand that the best way we can help strengthen and build Jewish community is through the practice of independent journalism.
In a town often knocked for being award-crazed, we hesitate to claim our place in a somewhat smaller spotlight. But winning 10 Rockowers gives us a chance, at least once each year, to thank you, our readers, for inspiring us, pushing us, demanding us, to do our best.
And we thank you for reading the results -- even the non-award winning results -- each week.
To read The Journal's award-winners, go to jewishjournal.com and click on "Rockower."