Jewish Week staff writers Stewart Ain and Tamar Snyder and correspondent Hella Winston were among the winners of the 2008 Simon Rockower Awards for excellence in Jewish journalism, which were announced last week.
The paper also won top honors for its annual magazine, Directions, and second place in its circulation division for editorial writing.
Winston, who has aggressively covered allegations of child sexual abuse against Orthodox rabbis in Brooklyn and the communal response to it, won first place in the features category for “A Charge of Double Betrayal,” the story of a man who says he was victimized first by the yeshiva principal who allegedly molested him and then by a yeshiva administration that took no action.
Snyder, a two-year veteran at the paper, won second place in the same category for “Anti-Semitism 2.0 Going Largely Unchallenged,” about the slow response of Jewish agencies to growing hatred on Facebook and YouTube.
Ain, a 22-year veteran at the paper, took second place in the David Frank Award for excellence in personality profiles. His winning entry was a piece on controversial professor Norman Finkelstein, whose views about Israel and the Holocaust have made him a pariah in the Jewish community and may have cost him tenure at DePaul University in Chicago.
The theme of Directions, coordinated by Managing Editor Robert Goldblum, was a look at 18 unsung heroes of the Jewish community. The magazine won first place in excellence for special sections and supplements for newspapers with a circulation above 15,000.
The prize for excellence in editorial writing was awarded for “The Reluctant DA,” a November, 2008 commentary written by Larry Cohler Esses, then editor at large. “For several years Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes has been treating the issue of child sexual abuse in certain Jewish communities with a stance ranging from passive to weak-willed,” read the editorial. “Victims brave enough to contemplate going to the authorities — with its attendant social costs — are left wondering if their information will be acted on seriously if they come forward.”
The awards were bestowed in Chicago at the annual gathering of the American Jewish Press Association, which administers the contest.
“We are extraordinarily proud to be the recipients of these awards,” said Peter Wang, president of The Jewish Week. “They demonstrate that we continue to be recognized as the premier source for Jewish journalism, and that our reporters and staff are the best in the business.”