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JNS takes home 11 awards in AJPA journalism contest

The growing media organization has won 42 Rockowers since 2019.

Personal belongings gathered from the grounds of the Supernova music festival in southern Israel that was attacked by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023. Photo by Rina Castelnuovo.
Personal belongings gathered from the grounds of the Supernova music festival in southern Israel that was attacked by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023. Photo by Rina Castelnuovo.

For the sixth year in a row, JNS.org earned Rockower Awards from the American Jewish Press Association, which were presented at the AJPA’s 43rd annual journalism contest and conference, held in Nashville, Tenn., from June 2-4. The awards recognize work published in 2023.

JNS won 11 Rockowers, its highest number yet.

The honors come as AJPA celebrated its 80th anniversary in the backdrop of significant changes in news readership and distribution, Jewish demographics and technology mediums amid a rising tide of antisemitism through North America.

Editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin received an honorable mention in the category of Award for Excellence in Arts-Review/Criticism for “There was more to Leonard Bernstein than his sex life or his nose.”

Bradley Cooper Leonard Bernstein
Actor Bradley Cooper plays musician Leonard Bernstein in the film “Maestro,” which he directed. Source: YouTube screenshot of the film trailer.

JNS captured two awards in the category of Louis Rapaport Award for Excellence in Commentary. First place went to Benjamin Kerstein for “Should Robert Bowers hang?” “ ‘Seeing’ the Palestinians” and “ ‘Dai’ … enough, stop it, let it go.”

Columnist Ben Cohen got second place for “Sweden must prevent public burnings of religious books,” Saudi Arabia’s ‘sportswashing’ strategy” and “Israelis without borders.”

Columnist Mitchell Bard received second place in the category of Excellence in Single Commentary for his column, “Orwell’s view on antisemitism was not Orwellian.”

JNS chief operation officer Dov Yarden won first place in the category of Excellence in Personal Essay for the piece about his children, titled “Reflections of a father.”

Ayelet Rosenberg and her children. Credit: Courtesy of Sheba Medical Center.

News correspondent Judy Lash Balint won first place in the category for Excellence in Writing About Health Care for her story, “Four little miracles,” about Israel’s Sheba Medical Center helping a 35-year-old woman become the first in the world to deliver four children following ovarian tissue cryopreservation.

News correspondent Etgar Lefkovits garnered second place in the category of Excellence in Writing About the War in Israel: News and Feature Writing for his story titled, “Filipino caretaker, 31, saves 95-year-old from Hamas terrorist with bribe.”

Freelance photographer Rina Castelnuovo earned second place in the category of Excellence in Photography for images associated with the story, “Personal belongings tell story of music festival massacre,” about items collected on the grounds of the Nova rave in southern Israel after Hamas terrorists attacked and killed 364 people on Oct. 7.

Freelancer Faygie Holt got second place in the category of Excellence in Education Reporting for “Penn leaders cite academic freedom, allowing event to proceed despite some speakers’ antisemitic history.”

University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia. Credit: SINITAR/Shutterstock.

Food and travel writer Ethel G. Hofman was awarded second place in the category of Excellence in Writing About Food and Wine for “Rescued recipes: A chef’s quest to honor Holocaust memories.”

U.S. news editor Menachem Wecker received an honorable mention in the category of Excellence in Writing About Women for “Sarah Bernhardt still ‘immortal’ 100 years after her death.”

In the last six years, JNS has won 42 Rockower Awards.

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