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The Forward Scoops 17 Rockower Awards From Jewish Press Association

The Forward has been awarded 17 Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism by the American Jewish Press Association, including 10 first-place prizes.

The AJPA praised the Forward, which won for coverage in both English and Yiddish, for its “gutsy” and “hard-hitting” coverage and “gripping storytelling.”

“It is gratifying to win this many awards in such a variety of categories,” said Jane Eisner, the Forward’s editor-in-chief. “I am immensely proud of my colleagues and their devotion to innovative, impactful journalism.”

The Forward’s awards spanned the gamut, from news, culture and opinion, to digital and design. It was the most awards given to any one news organization in recent memory.

In news, Larry Cohler-Esses won first place for his groundbreaking reporting last summer from Iran, when he was the first journalist from Jewish media to visit the Islamic republic since 1979.

Also in news, Naomi Zeveloff won second place for her profile of the Israeli lawmaker Stav Shaffir, and Paul Berger came in second in the healthcare category for his longform story about an Orthodox charity fostering kidney donations.

The Forward took first place in four categories in Culture: Sigal Samuel in feature writing for her eloquent story of her search for her Jewish Indian family; and freelancer Dave Schechter in writing about history for his essay detailing how Solomon Schechter’s daughter became a card-carrying Communist.

Two of those first place awards went to members of our Yiddish staff: Rukhl Schaechter for a feature about the unlikely Orthodox head of a secular school, and Jordan Kutzik for his profile of Ziggy Gruber.

Second place awards in Culture went to Ezra Glinter for his critical essay about Coney Island; Robert Zaretsky for his examination of French Jewry in light of heightened anti-Semitism; and Josh Nathan-Kazis, for his historical look at Jewish involvement in Kentucky segregation and labor disputes.

Continuing its streak, the Forward picked up four first place awards in Opinion.

Eisner won for excellence in editorial writing for a series of editorials, while columnist Jay Michaelson won for his column skewering animal-rights activists for protesting a Hasidic ritual. Sara Kabakov’s searing essay detailing her abuse by the controversial spiritual guru Marc Gafni was given a first place prize, and editor-at-large J.J. Goldberg was chosen for the Rapoport Excellence in Commentary award.

In a first, the Forward won the top prize for outstanding digital outreach for “Soundtrack of Our Spirit,” by Jane Eisner and Anne Cohen, the innovative project enlisting readers’ help to find the best in Jewish music.

And the Forward’s newly designed print edition picked up two first place awards. Kurt Hoffman, who as design director oversaw the overall project, won for best graphic design of a cover. Anya Ulinich also was recognized for her artwork in the category of illustration and editorial cartooning.

Awards will be presented at the 35th Annual Simon Rockower Awards banquet in November.

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