The 2015 David Twersky Journalism Award has been awarded to Forward editor-in-chief Jane Eisner for a June editorial calling for an easing of the Jewish conversion process.
The David Twersky Award, named for the former Forward editor and writer who died in 2010, is granted annually for one article published in the Forward or the New Jersey Jewish News, where Twersky also worked. The award is administered by Twersky’s family and friends.
“After I read this article, my first reaction was to make my roommate read it so that we could talk about it,” said Anna Twersky, David Twersky’s daughter and a member of the prize committee, according to a press release.
Eisner’s editorial, published in June 2014, was titled, “Why Is it so Hard to Convert to Judaism?” It argued that Conservative Judaism, in particular, should make the process of converting to Judaism easier, quicker, cheaper and more welcoming.
“The goal is to always find that one piece that David would have considered most remarkable,” said Amir Cohen, a former colleague of Twersky’s who founded the prize and was the head of the committee of judges.
Other judges included Twersky’s two children, Elana Kahn-Oren, former president of the American Jewish Press Association, and Esther Kustanowitz, a writer.
“It’s an honor to carry on David Twersky’s journalistic values and his commitment to the Jewish people,” Eisner said.
First awarded in 2012, previous recipients of the prize include Andrew Silow-Carroll, the editor of the New Jersey Jewish News, and Larry Cohler-Esses, managing editor of the Forward. Cohler-Esses won the prize for his one-on-one interview with Hamas second-in-command Mousa Abu Marzook in Cairo.
The New Jersey Jewish News and the Forward were each asked to submit five pieces to the prize committee. The judges made their selection from among the ten stories.
Twersky was a lifelong Jewish activist and journalist who served as deputy editor and Washington bureau chief of the Forward from the founding of the English-language edition in 1990. Later, he became editor of the MetroWest Jewish News, which he grew through mergers into the New Jersey Jewish News. He retired due to illness in 2008.
Eisner will receive a $1,000 prize and a medal at an upcoming award ceremony.