It’s awards season in the journalism world, and I’m pleased to report that the Forward has already brought home a few. At its annual dinner March 10, the Community Media Alliance in New York gave two of its Ippies Awards to Josh Nathan-Kazis for writing about labor and education, and one to Nadja Spiegelman for her podcast interview with the leader of a group of gay Orthodox Jews. (Nadja has just left the Forward to work on a family project, but she has been succeeded by the equally wonderful Nate Lavey as associate web producer.)
The night before the Ippies cremony, our Gal Beckerman accepted the top honor at the 2010 National Jewish Book Awards for his masterful new work, “When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry.” In his acceptance speech, Gal said that the movement’s beauty was “its power to bridge so many divides” and said he’s constantly asked if the Jewish community could ever replicate that unifying sense of purpose. He’s not sure, but the potential exists.
“But first,” he said, “we have to escape from a Jewish parochialism that blinds us to the rest of the world. And at the same time, we have to abandon the unrealistic — however laudable — notion that we can be a light unto the nations. Between these two, is where I believe the potential exists: that we can achieve a good that not only helps ourselves as Jews, as members of a tribe, but that also changes humanity for the better.”