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The Forward wins big at the 2020 Rockowers

The 39th Annual Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism, held virtually on July 3, recognized a broad swath of the Forward’s coverage, from the strange saga of a thrift store Torah to the swan song of the paper’s print edition to the infectious tunes of Hanukkah a capella.

Forverts staff writer Jordan Kutzik won first place in the Award for Excellence in Single Commentary for his piece “Ashkenormativity? What about Israel-centrism?” about mainstream Jewish education’s emphasis on the Jewish State and neglect of Yiddish (and Ladino and Bukharian) culture. The Forward’s life editor Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt received honorable mention in the category for her piece “Why does no one care about violence against Orthodox Jews?”

Chizhik-Goldschmidt also won first place for Excellence in Feature Writing for her story “In Brighton Beach, a nostalgia for oppression”, a look at Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants’ attraction to “strongmen” like Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Forward staff writer Ari Feldman won the Boris Smolar Award for Excellence in Enterprise or Investigative Reporting for his serieson the many twists and turns of provenance surrounding a Torah discovered at a Virginia Goodwill.

A rabbi walks into a bar… Have you heard that one? Join Forverts editor Rukhl Schaechter as she talks to contemporary stars of Yiddish comedy and mavens of Yiddish humor. Don’t worry — the jokes will be fresh. Register for Zoom here.

Contributor Stav Ziv won the Award for Excellence in Arts and Criticism News and Features – Reporting for her story “The meteoric rise of the a capella Hanukkah video – How a holiday force awakened”. Also in culture, Forward deputy culture editor Talya Zax received honorable mention in the Award for Excellence in Arts and Criticism News and Features – Critical Analysis/Review for “Like Philip Roth, but feminist: Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s debut novel” and culture reporter PJ Grisar took honorable mention in the David Frank Award for Excellence in Personality Profiles for [“Jerome Charyn, the half-wild novelist.”] (

Senior editor Adam Langer, archivist Chana Pollack, contributing art critic Anya Ulinich, former art director Kurt Hoffman and publisher Rachel Fishman Feddersen won second place in Special Sections and Supplements for their “thematically flawless and evocative” issue bidding farewell to the Forward’s print edition. The Forward also took home second place for General Excellence – Best Website.

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