The 39th Annual Simon Rockower Award Winners

2020 Awards (For Work Done in 2019)

Awards were presented via a virtual presentation on Thursday, July 2, 2020. Please click here to view the awards presentation.

Category 1: The Louis Rapoport Award for Excellence in Commentary

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Magazines; Broadcast; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
JNS, Allston, MA              
“What if there’s no way to stop another synagogue shooting?,” “Do the Jews really need their own Nobel Prize?,” “The cost of censorship on Facebook” by Jonathan Tobin
Click here to view submission
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Second Place
The Jewish Journal of Greater LA, Los Angeles, CA
“Yom Kippur and the lamb chop,” “How Rosh Hashanah can change your life,” “Finding love in the era of hate” by David Suissa
Click here to view submission
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Honorable Mention
JNS, Allston, MA              
“‘Anti-Zionism’ without the hyphen,” “The Christchurch mosque massacre and the changing face of extremism,” “Who, me? A racist?” by Ben Cohen
Click here to view submission
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Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
Atlanta Jewish Times, Atlanta, GA
“A club no one wants to join," Thank you, but leave my name out of it," “Norbert Friedman, z”l, an appreciation” by Dave Schechter
Click here to view submission
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Second Place
Intermountain Jewish News, Denver, CO
"Is there a single ethical ideal?," "Coming in from a different place," "Yes, directly, Moses speaks to me” by Hillel Goldberg
Click here to view submission
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Honorable Mention
The Dayton Jewish Observer, Dayton, OH
“A taste of brokenness at our first U.S. seder,” “Descendant of a rabbi, a priest, and a Cossack,” “A Bisel Kisel – who by fire?” by Masha Kisel
Click here to view submission
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Click here to view submission

Category 2: Award for Excellence in Single Commentary

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
Yiddish Forward, New York, NY
“Ashkenormativity? What about Israel-centrism?” by Jordan Kutzik
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Comment: A brilliant look at Jewish culture -- Jewish cultures, actually -- and various assumptions behind what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century.

Second Place
Marla Cohen, Teaneck, NJ
“Straight shooting for 21st-century Jews” published in Jewish Standard
Click here to view submission
Comment: A riveting, even-keeled and beautifully written look at how the writer -- and at least some other Jews -- are considering gun ownership as a way to deal with 21st-century anti-Semitism.

Honorable Mention
The Forward Association, Inc., New York, NY         
“Why does no one care about violence against Orthodox Jews?” by Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt 
Click here to view submission
Comment: A careful look at the response -- or lack of response -- to violence against Orthodox Jews, raising the question of why these crimes don't provoke more universal outrage.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
J. The Jewish News of Northern California, San Francisco, CA         
“I do not speak, but I am listening. Talking about others hurts us all” by Rami Kripke-Ludwig             
Click here to view submission

Second Place
Cleveland Jewish News, Cleveland, OH    
“Taking your best swing in life on or off the field” by Regina Brett         
Click here to view submission

Honorable Mention
J. The Jewish News of Northern California, San Francisco, CA  
   
“I’m proud to have been a plaintiff in anti-Semitism lawsuit against SFSU” by Charles Volk 
Click here to view submission

Category 3: Award for Excellence in Personal Essay

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
The Canadian Jewish News, Concord, ON
“A funeral for a survivor no one knew” by Zale Newman            
Click here to view submission
Comment: This lovely piece tells how a Facebook post by a Bikkur Cholim brought 200 people together on a frigid Toronto day to honor the life of a survivor who died alone. It's a simple tale, simply told and that's what gives it power.

Second Place
Susan Shapiro, New York, NY
“This Yom Kippur, I'll light a candle for my father and remember we forgave each other before it was too late” published in The Independent
Click here to view submission
Comment: Estrangement between parent and child too often survives long after death, even when the estrangement may not be all that it seems. Susan Shapiro shows that saying the right words, even if it's by accident, can bridge chasms.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
Jewish Independent, Vancouver, BC
“Reflecting on my Jewish hero” by Becca Wertman
Click here to view submission

Second Place
Jewish Independent, Vancouver, BC
“Folk choir celebrates 40th” by Victor Neuman 
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Honorable Mention
J. The Jewish News of Northern California, San Francisco, CA          
“Your tattoo was forced on you at Auschwitz. Mine honors your memory.” by Carole Priven 
Click here to view submission

Category 4: Award for Excellence in Editorial Writing

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
The Jewish Journal of Greater LA, Los Angeles, CA             
“Religious parties hurt their religion,” “Why Anti-Zionism is more lethal than anti-Semitism,” “Why did the media botch Covington lack of diversity?” by David Suissa
Click here to view submission
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Click here to view submission

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.     

First Place
Washington Jewish Week, Rockville, MD
“Belgium in blackface,” “Netanyahu’s public relations fiasco,” “Shame on the city of Takoma Park” by David Holzel, Liz Spikol and Joshua Runyan
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Comment: Two strong, well-argued condemnations of anti-Semitism. A third editorial concisely analyzed and argued how the Israeli administration turned a PR win into a PR disaster. Tight writing and a few turns of phrase made these compelling and easy to read.

Second Place
Intermountain Jewish News, Denver, CO
"Draped in the flag," "The 'Jewish Nobel' is ignoble in principle and practice," "Warning: 'The blacks are taking over’” by Hillel Goldberg
Click here to view submission
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Comment: Two of the editorials had powerful messages, basically citing hypocrisy, with good reasoning. Third made a great point about a big award made to a prominent man charged with soliciting a prostitute. All three took courageous positions.

Category 5: The Boris Smolar Award for Excellence in Enterprise or Investigative Reporting

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
The Forward Association, Inc., New York, NY          
“This Torah was dropped off at a Va. thrift store can you help us find where it came from?,” “The Torah that ended up at a Goodwill doesn’t belong to a Jew” by Ari Feldman 
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Comment: This story about a Torah dropped off at Goodwill, by Ari Feldman of The Forward, had all the elements of great enterprise journalism -- it was surprising, it was well reported and researched, it put events in the proper context and it was written in an extremely compelling way. Well done!

Second Place
70 Faces Media, New York, NY
“French Jews say officials are reluctant to call out anti-Semitism by Muslims,” “Germany is accused of downplaying anti-Semitic attacks by Muslims,” “In France, a killer’s successful insanity defense sparks outrage” by Cnaan Liphshiz
Click here to view submission
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Click here to view submission
Comment: This story did an important public service by shining a spotlight on the failure of French authorities to properly handle anti-Semitic hate crimes.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
J. The Jewish News of Northern California, San Francisco, CA          
“Who is a Jew? DNA home testing adds new wrinkle to age-old debate,” “A Bay area woman wanted to discover her Jewish roots. She ended up finding her biological father,” “Genealogy ‘mavens’ go old-school to uncover Jewish past” by Gabriel Greschler, Gabe Stutman and Maya Mirsky
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Comment:
This is a well-reported and well-written story, with compelling people that made the story come alive. Well done.

Second Place
The Boiling Point, Los Angeles, CA            
“Welcoming the stranger with hot food, scissors and applause” by Sam Rubanowitz 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Kudos to Sam Rubanowitz and his colleagues at The Boiling Point, the online student publication of Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles, for their compelling stories about LA synagogue volunteers traveling to Phoenix to greet asylum seekers from Guatemala and elsewhere. This clearly shows that the next generation of journalists is ready to go.

Category 6: Award for Excellence in News Reporting

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
Gillian Friedman, Salt Lake City, UT
“A Utah Orthodox rabbi said his childhood nanny sexually abused him for 10 years. Here's why he decided to tell his story for the first time” published in Deseret News
Click here to view submission
Comment: A compelling story, told powerfully yet sensitively. The writer pulls back the veil on an unexpected corner of the #MeToo movement.

Second Place
The Jewish Journal of Greater LA, Los Angeles, CA             
“A Tu B'Shevat Story: rebuilding L.A.'s Jewish camps” by Ryan Torok
Click here to view submission
Comment: An uplifting tale well-told. Imagery, quotes and a natural tie to Tu B'Shvat perfectly connect a devastating event -- last year's deadly Southern California wildfires -- to the Jewish community

Honorable Mention
Jewish Standard, Teaneck, NJ     
“Shootout in Jersey City” by Joanne Palmer
Click here to view submission
Comment: Comprehensive, thorough and compelling. What elevates this package is the wide range of voices, from religious leaders to civic leaders and even those critical of the Jersey City Jewish community. A firsthand account of the attack and a rabbi's email to his congregation elevate coverage beyond what already was widely seen in the secular press. The scope of this entry is impressive.

Division BNewspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, Pittsburgh, PA                           
“Cleaning up, after the unimaginable” by Adam Reinherz 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Story contains so much detail and excellent quotes. A very strong way to follow an important national story for the local audience.

Second Place
J. The Jewish News of Northern California, San Francisco, CA
“‘Auschwitz-themed’ Barbie death camp at Burning Man catches ADL’s eye” by Gabe Stutman 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Well-reported look at surprising exhibit with controversial impact.

Honorable Mention
Intermountain Jewish News, Denver, CO  
“You never know where they'll aim” by Chris Leppek 
Click here to view submission
Comment: This is a very complete package. It reports the current situation, advances the story and provides deep background. Very readable.

Category 7: The Chaim Sheba Medical Center Award for Excellence in Writing about Social Justice and Humanitarian Work
Click here for information.

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
Hadassah Magazine, New York, NY 
“When Rabbis say #MeToo” by Uriel Heilman 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Fascinating look into how #MeToo can be an issue in a house of worship.

Second Place
Jewish Standard, Teaneck, NJ     
“A place where you don't have to hide” by Joanne Palmer 
Click here to view submission

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
Atlanta Jewish Times, Atlanta, GA               
“Dignity can be photographed and nourished” by Dave Schechter            
Click here to view submission

Second Place
Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, Pittsburgh, PA
“Aleph Institute provides for more than prisoners’ spiritual needs” by David Rullo 
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Honorable Mention
Diane Joy Schmidt, Albuquerque, NM
“An Albuquerque 8th grade class’ trip to visit a concentration camp in Poland” published in New Mexico Jewish Link
Click here to view submission

Category 8: Award for Excellence in Feature Writing

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast.

First Place
Gillian Friedman,
Salt Lake City, UT
“A Utah Orthodox rabbi said his childhood nanny sexually abused him for 10 years. Here's why he decided to tell his story for the first time” published in Deseret News
Click here to view submission
Comment: A shocking story told in a sensitive manner. Hopefully, it will prompt more such conversations.

Second Place
Susan Shapiro, New York, NY       
“Forgiving the unforgivable” published in Therevealer.org
Click here to view submission
Comment: A gripping story that's made more powerful by the author's firsthand account.

Honorable Mention
Gillian Friedman, Salt Lake City, UT
“‘I would be afraid of being attacked’: Why some Jews won’t put a menorah in their window this Hanukkah” published in Deseret News
Click here to view submission
Comment: An innovative, unofficial survey of Jews worldwide. Nicely done.

Division B. Newspapers 7,500-14,999 circulation.

First Place
Atlanta Jewish Times Atlanta, GA
“The Jewish Marilyn Monroe – gone but not forgotten” by Bob Bahr 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Defied the expectation that nothing could still be said about Marilyn Monroe. It laid out the staggering extent of her Jewish connections in an impossible-to-stop-reading way, packed with telling details (like the brand of champagne she drank to wash down the sleeping pills).

Second Place
Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, Pittsburgh, PA
“Temple Beth Am shutters its doors, buries prayer books” by David Rullo 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Surprisingly moving piece on what is (sadly) not an unusual occurrence, told with great compassion (but avoiding sentimentality). It carried the reader along, as if they themselves were members of Temple Beth Am, up to its heartbreaking last line.

Division C. Newspapers 1-7,499 circulation.

First Place
Intermountain Jewish News, Denver, CO
“Atomic City” by Andrea Jacobs       
Click here to view submission
Comment: A lively, readable -- and thoroughly researched -- story that illuminates the Jewish aspect of a famous moment in American history.

Second Place
Intermountain Jewish News, Denver, CO
“Off the grid: life in the gates of heaven” by Chris Leppek 
Click here to view submission
Comment: A delightfully written account of a fascinating experiment in Jewish living. It read beautifully and was packed with an abundance of interesting details.

Division D. Magazines; Special Sections and Supplements; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
The Forward Association, Inc., New York, NY          
“In Brighton Beach, a nostalgia for oppression” by Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt
Click here to submission
Comment: A difficult, complicated subject brought to light by a skilled interviewer and storyteller.

Second Place
Hadassah Magazine, New York, NY
“Bringing the Catskills back to life” by Hilary Danailova 
Click here to view submission
Comment: What a fascinating blend of history and contemporary life. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Honorable Mention
Moment Magazine, Washington, DC
“It's Stephen Miller time” by Marc Fisher 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Here's what feature profiles are supposed to do: Help me understand better a mysterious, important figure.

Category 9: Award for Excellence in Arts and Criticism News and Features - Reporting

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
The Forward Association, Inc., New York, NY          
“The meteoric rise of the a capella Hanukkah video – How a holiday force awakened” by Stav Ziv   
Click here to view submission
Comment: A well-organized, entertaining and informative piece. I appreciated how, along with providing the links to all the wonderful videos, the story makes clear how important these efforts have become to these organizations. This is what a modern web-based arts story can be.

Second Place
Gillian Friedman, Salt Lake City, UT            
“Hallmark is making Hanukkah movies this year. I’m Jewish, and I’m not excited about it” published in Deseret News
Click here to view submission
Comment: Well-written and -argued, this was informative and quite thought-provoking. I appreciated its mix of commentary and quotes from other voices.

Honorable Mention
70 Faces Media, New York, NY
“How ‘Broad City’ redefined American Jewish identity” by Elana Spivack and Molly Tolsky 
Click here to view submission
Comment: This witty appreciation of a TV show (I've never seen) was the most fun read of the contest. The love for the subject really comes through, as does the case for its cultural relevance.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
Atlanta Jewish Times, Atlanta, GA
“The Jewish Marilyn Monroe – gone but not forgotten” by Bob Bahr 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Fantastic story!

Second Place
Baltimore Jewish Times, Owings Mills, MD
“The Soap Myth” by Connor Graham
Click here to view submission

Honorable Mention
Baltimore Jewish Times, Owings Mills, MD
“Esther and the dream of one loving human family” by Connor Graham
Click here to view submission

Category 10: Award for Excellence in Arts and Criticism News and Features – Critical Analysis/Review

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
Moment Magazine, Washington, DC
“A Jewish outsider in Paris” by Robert Siegel 
Click here to view submission

Second Place
Moment Magazine, Washington, DC
“How bad is it?” by Robert Siegel 
Click here to view submission

Honorable Mention
The Forward Association, Inc., New York, NY
“Like Philip Roth, but feminist: Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s debut novel” by Talya Zax
Click here to view submission

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
The Reporter, New York, NY
“Turning Jews into Americans” by Rabbi Rachel Esserman 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Very well written and gives a good insight into narratives about Jews in the U.S. and the myths that have been passed down.

Second Place
J. The Jewish News of Northern California, San Francisco, CA“‘Our Boys’ will make you uncomfortable, which is exactly why you should watch it” by Esther D. Kustanowitz
Click here to view submission
Comment: Excellent writing and asks good questions about what is happening in Israel, even as Israelis do the critiquing through their arts and culture.

Honorable Mention
The Boiling Point, Los Angeles, CA
“Jojo Rabbit: Sparks of love in a world of hate” by Jacob Joseph Lefkowitz Brooks
Click here to view submission
Comment: Well written and asks good questions in light of it being seen as a film about the Holocaust.

Category 11: The David Frank Award for Excellence in Personality Profiles

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast.

First Place
Suzanne Pollak, Jerusalem, Israel
“No. 16 = survival” published in Jerusalem Post Magazine
Click here to view submission

Second Place
New Jersey Jewish News, Whippany, NJ
“Local war hero awarded France's highest honor” by Johanna Ginsberg
Click here to view submission

Honorable Mention
JNS, Allston, MA               
“Meet Michael Schudrich: Rabbi to Poland’s Jews, the living and the dead” by Deborah Fineblum 
Click here to view submission

Division B. Newspapers 7,500-14,999 circulation.

First Place
J. The Jewish News of Northern California, San Francisco, CA
“Chesa Boudin, San Francisco’s D.A.-elect, talks homelessness, Jewishness and taking on the establishment” by Gabe Stutman 

Click here to view submission
Comment: A standout article within this category. Does not just profile Boudin but tells a story and explains a trajectory of personal development as well as placing within broader national and historical contexts.

Second Place
Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, Pittsburgh, PA
“What Barry saw” by Adam Reinherz 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Very nice profile. Delicate touch, respect for the subject and his experiences. It feels very personal and as a 'Studs Turkel' feel to its description of an ordinary person who has been thrown into exceptional circumstances.

Honorable Mention
J. The Jewish News of Northern California, San Francisco, CA
“Oakland City Council’s Rebecca Kaplan preaches Torah, progressive politics” by Gabe Stutman 
Click here to view submission

Division C. Newspapers from 1-7,499 circulation.

First Place
Intermountain Jewish News, Denver, CO
“Child survivor of Bergen-Belsen” by Andrea Jacobs
Click here to view submission

Second Place
Jewish Herald-Voice, Houston, TX
“Inspiring journey leads Berry family from tragedy to triumph” by Matt Samuels 
Click here to view submission

Division D. Magazines; Special Sections and Supplements; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
Moment Magazine, Washington, DC
“It's Stephen Miller time" by Marc Fisher
Click here to view submission

Second Place
Chabad.org, New York, NY
“Berel Raskin, 84, Chassidic fishmonger who became a Crown Heights icon” by Dovid Margolin
Click here to view submission

Honorable Mention
The Forward Association, Inc., New York, NY
“Jerome Charyn, the half-wild novelist” by PJ Grisar
Click here to view submission

Category 12: Award for Excellence in Special Sections or Supplements 

All entries competed in the same division.

First Place
Hadassah Magazine, New York, NY
“#MeToo and the Jewish world” by Debra Nussbaum Cohen, Uriel Heilman, Wendy Elliman, Sarah Yahr Tucker and Andy Potts
Click here to view submission
Comment: Excellent special issue, from the cover art and interior illustrations to the overall design and presentation to the thoroughly reported and superbly balanced articles on the widespread impact of sexual abuse and the #MeToo movement on Jewish women in the United States and Israel. Standouts include: 1) a perfectly calibrated lead article featuring moving accounts from abuse victims, an authoritative overview of the state of the crisis, a succinct examination of current legal and workplace realities, and a remarkable interview with a male professor who lost his job over his abusive behavior and spoke of his shame and efforts at atonement; and 2) a forceful and eye-opening article on the problems faced by Israeli women in the home, workplace, and military as they cope with sexual abuse and harassment in a patriarchal and chauvinist society. This is a model of how a special issue can be clear-headed and concise, moving and dismaying, yet hopeful and inspiring. A must read.

Second Place
The Forward Association, Inc., New York, NY
“Goodnight, sweet print: A farewell to the Forward's print edition” by Adam Langer, Kurt Hoffman, Anya Ulinich, Chana Pollack and Rachel Feddersen
Click here to view submission
Comment: This is one for the ages. A thematically flawless and evocative print supplement that bids a poignant farewell to the "analog" (print) Forward. It takes readers on an enlightening and often enchanting journey back in journalistic time (while offering a notion of the fine digital history yet to come). The issue is deftly curated and replete with eloquence, resonance and wit. Notably, the wealth of fine writers who offer elegiacal remembrances avoid coming across as maudlin or sentimental. Especially notable are articles on how the Forward responded to 9/11 and the New York floods of 2012 (Hurricane Sandy), and a reprint of a lovely article from 1937 by a "Forverts" typesetter who spent decades piecing the paper together in Yiddish. It's a pleasure to discover the wide range of talented and devoted people who have made the Forverts-Forward a great institution -- writers, editors, photographers, pressmen, and craft and trade union members among them. Not surprisingly, many of the writers who have gone on to lead other news organizations credit their training at the Forward for their success.

Honorable Mention
70 Faces Media, New York, NY
“Alma’s guide to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” by Emily Burack, Molly Tolsky and 70 Faces Media Staff
Click here to view submission
Comment: Very well-done primer that walks a narrow edge and effectively accomplishes its mission -- offering an authoritative historical overview of the Arab-Israeli conflict in as neutral a tone as possible while remaining conversational and digestible. This could easily be used long term as a starting point for a series of high school or college classes on the subject. Inevitably, one gets little feel for the human drama -- the personal and political schisms, the pain and plight of Palestinian refugees and Arab Israelis, and the fear and antipathy of Jews who have lost loved ones in the conflict. Paradoxically, the absence of such pathos helps make the section refreshing to read. Was pleased to see the "right of return" issue noted; the Sabra-Shatila killings, though, get short shrift. Irgun is referenced. The photos were adequate and historically interesting but a bit sterile. A photo essay-style approach (slide shows work well online) would have helped improve the readability and immediacy of the well-assembled chronologies. This is a timely, earnest and intelligent supplement and an excellent concept that is very well executed.

Category 13: Chaim Sheba Medical Center Award for Excellence in Writing about Health Care
Click here for information.

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Special Sections and Supplements; Web-based Outlets.

 
First Place

The Canadian Jewish News, Concord, ON                
“Navigating organ donation in Judaism” by Lila Sarick 
Click here to view submission 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Lila Sarick examines the phenomenon of living organ donations from the perspectives of patients and donors in this fascinating, sympathetic story that is part magazine feature and part public service journalism. The piece focuses on Jewish patients, donors, and organizations that facilitate kidney and liver donations in greater Toronto area, and deftly explores changing Jewish views on the subject of organ donation. Sarick makes the plight of patients, and the motivations of donors, come alive through probing interviews with a wide range of subjects, while educating readers about critical services that exist to help those awaiting transplants.

Second Place
Jewish Action (Orthodox Union), New York, NY
“Dating with a mental disorder” by David H. Rosmarin
Click here to view submission
Comment: In this clear, authoritative article, David Rosmarin, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School focuses on mental-health issues in the Orthodox community, where he also runs treatment programs for the afflicted. In particular, he examines how diagnoses of and treatments for mental illness can impact eligibility for marriage, a key consideration in such communities. While the piece is addressed to a unique population, non-Orthodox readers will also learn much about the biology of mental illness and the prognoses for various treatments.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
Intermountain Jewish News, Denver, CO
“A dive into the dark world of bipolar disorder” by Andrea Jacobs 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Author Andrea Jacobs brings insight, intelligence, and empathy to her revealing portrait of Rabbi Sandra Cohen, a Denver-area rabbi who has chosen to speak publicly about her struggle with bipolar disorder. Neither writer nor subject glosses over the punishing impact of this illness, nor the Jewish community's need to confront the incidence of mental illness in its midst. Yet, through Jacobs' sharp writing and skillful handling of a difficult subject, Rabbi Cohen emerges as far more than the sum of her many health issues -- and as someone about whom the reader grows to care and wants to know more.

Second Place
Intermountain Jewish News, Denver, CO
“Gifts of life” by Andrea Jacobs
Click here to view submission
Comment: The agony -- and the ecstasy -- of the Hepner family come alive in this beautifully written account of daughter Hannah's struggle with kidney disease and her eventual kidney transplant, part of a complicated two-step donor process that also involved her mother's donation of a kidney to an anonymous recipient. The story probes both the psychological and physical ramifications of these procedures; deftly explores the family dynamic, and explains the ins and outs of the living-donor program at the Mayo Clinic, thereby performing a public service.

Honorable Mention
The Boiling Point, Los Angeles, CA            
“Lethal vapor: At least 12 deaths so far from mysterious vaping illness” by Jacob Joseph Lefkowitz Brooks and Sivan Karz 
Click here to view submission
Comment: This comprehensive, hard-hitting story in Boiling Point, the student newspaper of Los Angeles day school Shalhevet, explores the dangers of vaping -- and the popularity of vaping among Shalhevet students. The writing is polished; the piece is well sourced and fully reported, the subject is important, and the message is appropriately aimed at its target audience of high-school students.

Category 14: The Nefesh B'Nefesh Charley J. Levine Memorial Award  for Journalistic Excellence in Covering Zionism, Aliyah and Israel


Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Special Sections and Supplements; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
Jewish Action (Orthodox Union), New York, NY      
“Remembering the 1929 Hebron massacre” by Bayla Sheva Brenner and Toby Klein Greenwald 
Click here to view submission

Second Place
70 Faces Media, New York, NY
“Alma’s guide to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” by Emily Burack, Molly Tolsky and 70 Faces Media Staff 
Click here to view submission

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
Jewish Independent, Vancouver, BC          
“Learning the lay of the land,” “When Afula road went quiet,” “Tending the banana fields in war,” “Weapon training begins,” “Near tragedy on guard,” “Fighters return to kibbutz,” “The fire-like impacts of war,” “On return to Canada, life changes” by Victor Neuman
Click here to view submission
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Click here to view submission

Second Place
Intermountain Jewish News, Denver, CO
“Denverite endured, survived 1970 Egyptian capture” by Chris Leppek 
Click here to view submission

Category 15: Award for Excellence in Writing about Women

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Special Sections and Supplements; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
Hadassah Magazine, New York, NY
“When rabbis say #MeToo” by Uriel Heilman                
Click here to view submission
Comment: This article was insightful and sensitive in examining a less-discussed aspect of #MeToo. It was notable for being both well written and solidly researched.

Second Place
Moment Magazine, Washington, DC
“The new mechitza” by Eetta Prince-Gibson 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Very much enjoyed this article, which examined many sides of a complex argument, explained the stakes and included key voices from across the spectrum of impacted populations.

Honorable Mention
Hadassah Magazine, New York, NY             
“The Jewish mother, a love story” by Eetta Prince-Gibson         
Click here to view submission
Comment: Very nicely shaped story that was full of interesting asides -- the kind of article I'd share little tidbits from over brunch.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under. 

First Place
Intermountain Jewish News, Denver, CO
“A dive into the dark world of bipolar disorder” by Andrea Jacobs             
Click here to view submission
Comment: I cannot praise this story enough. It checked off every box for an award-winning story. The writer approached an incredibly sensitive topic with the utmost care and then used it as an opportunity to educate all of us. By the end, I felt like I had gotten a real glimpse into the life of Rabbi Sandra Cohen. When you come across something like this, it's easy to assume that the subject must have been entirely willing because the story reads so naturally. But I know that is not the case. The writer obviously took the time to build rapport and trust with Rabbi Cohen. And every reader of this story is better for it.

Second Place
Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, Pittsburgh, PA
“Anti-Semitism in Women’s March complicates matters for local Jews” by Toby Tabachnick 
Click here to view submission
Comment: The minefields of writing this story cannot be underestimated. It took time, energy and dedication to maneuver through the history, tensions and nuances of the anti-Semitism that is (unfortunately) linked to the Women's March. The writer managed to give individuals with diverse opinions the respect they deserve, without missing the forest for the trees.

Honorable Mention
Intermountain Jewish News, Denver, CO  
“Child survivor of Bergen-Belsen” by Andrea Jacobs   
Click here to view submission
Comment: Anyone who works in Jewish journalism has read and written many stories about Holocaust survivors. It can be tough to strike the right balance between treating the person as a symbol and uncovering his or her true individuality. The profile of Sara Moses did just that. It reflected the horror that Sara endured as a child, while weaving in the perspective she has gained over the decades.

Category 16: Award of Excellence in Writing about Jewish Heritage and Jewish Peoplehood in Europe

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Special Sections and Supplements; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
Jewish Standard, Teaneck, NJ     
“In Lithuania, before the war” by Joanne Palmer 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Joanne Palmer’s story of the Yeshiva Museum’s exhibit of a pre-Holocaust, family photo album does more than just give the reader a bird’s-eye view of the exhibition. Instead, Palmer does a wonderful job of connecting these photos into a story that a 21st-century Jewish reader can relate. These photos (many of which are included in a cleverly-done layout) show a world of pre-war Jewish life that so often is lost behind imagery and tragedy of the Holocaust. Palmer reminds us that these photos represent people who are akin to a sprawling Charles Dickens novel that is full of characters with interesting tales to tell. Palmer highlights some of these stories in her piece including Lyuba, who joined the Russian Revolution. Palmer does a terrific job of making this exhibit relevant, real, and, emotional -- without making it overly-sentimental.

Second Place
Hadassah Magazine, New York, NY
“‘We are not aliens’” by Toby Axelrod             
Click here to view submission
Comment: Toby Axelrod tells the story of outreach groups in Germany like Likrat (Hebrew for “toward”) and Rent-A-Jew, that introduce Jews and Judaism to non-Jewish students throughout the country. In a year when there is an attack on a German synagogue on Shabbat and anti-Semitism is on the rise in Germany, Axelrod shows us that there is still a strong desire to conduct this kind of outreach. The Jewish teen volunteers are vividly brought to life in the story. In particular, Axelrod takes us into a session between non-Jews and volunteers to show both how difficult this work is, but also how rewarding. Axelrod also puts these outreach programs into the current political context, so this is way more than a light feature.

Honorable Mention
Hamodia Magazine, New York, NY               
“No one to answer 'Amein'” by Rafael Hoffman            
Click here to view submission
Comment: Rafael Hoffman gives us a very deep dive into the little-known story of the 1919 pogroms in Felshtin, Ukraine -- an event that was a precursor to further atrocities against the Jews leading to the Holocaust. This is a story that takes us on a very long tale with twists and turns and, while tragic, is an engrossing read.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
Baltimore Jewish Times, Owings Mills, MD
“Olga’s legacy” by Susan C. Ingram
Click here to view submission

Category 17: Award for Journalistic Excellence in American Jewish History

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Special Sections and Supplements; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
New Jersey Jewish News, Whippany, NJ
“Research on '13 driver's licenses' in Germany leads to New Jersey” by Johanna Ginsberg
Click here to view submission
Comment: The strongest story by far. It humanizes history and connects two peoples to their past in a present-day setting. The article is highly readable through a clear narrative and good use of detail and sources.

Second Place
SagaCity Media, Portland, OR       
“The hidden diaspora/converso identity is growing. But the discovery is fraught with challenge” by Makena Mezistrano
Click here to view submission 
Comment: Like the first-place entry, this article connects the past to the present on a human level. Storytelling through recipes would have created a different news angle about people who discover they are of Jewish descent.

Honorable Mention
New Jersey Jewish News, Whippany, NJ
“Eyewitnesses to history” by Shira Vickar-Fox, Lori Silberman-Brauner, Debra Rubin, Johanna Ginsberg and Jed Weisberger
Click here to view submission
Comment: The connection between past and present was evident in the article's premise. The vignettes were interesting, though not novel to anyone who has read similar stories or seen documentaries on Israel's formation. This might have been a function of the subjects, and thus not reflective of the reporter's efforts.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
J. The Jewish News of Northern California, San Francisco, CA
“This S.F. lake is named after California’s most anti-Semitic politician. One man is trying to change that” by Gabriel Greschler
Click here to view submission

Second Place
St. Louis Jewish Light, St. Louis, MO
“The Rebbe's penny: blessed coin from St. Louis fetches nearly $7,000 at auction” by Bill Motchan 
Click here to view submission

Honorable Mention
J. The Jewish News of Northern California, San Francisco, CA
“100 years ago, prohibition put booze and Jews in the news” by Maya Mirsky 
Click here to view submission

Category 18: Award for Excellence in Overall Graphic Design

Division A. Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast.

Not awarded.

Division B. Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
J. The Jewish News of Northern California, San Francisco, CA
“J. The Jewish News of Northern California” by Steve Romero, Michelle Palmer and Antonio Marquez
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission

Second Place
Washington Jewish Week, Rockville, MD
“Washington Jewish Week” by Mike Marshall 
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission

Division C. Magazines, Special Sections and Supplements; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
SagaCity Media, Portland, OR       
“Jewish in Seattle” by Neomi Rapoport
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission

Category 19: Award for Excellence in Photography 

All entries competed in the same division. 

First Place
Baltimore Jewish Times, Owings Mills, MD
“A Jewish collective effort” by David Stuck 
Click here to view submission
Comment: A nice variety of images. Well edited.

Second Place
Cleveland Jewish News, Cleveland, OH
“Super Sunday jubilation” by Bob Jacob 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Nice moment here, with true emotion. More of these images.

Category 20: Award for Outstanding Digital Outreach

All entries competed in the same division

First Place
70 Faces Media, New York, NY
“Kveller” by Kveller Staff 
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Comment: I had to bookmark this page as it was one of the most hip and innovative websites I’ve seen. The social media and extras really lured me in. From the humor and focus on issues of the day, its hip and compelling Instagram page is a great feed designed to target younger audiences. The Facebook page provides super helpful tips -- including reposting older articles -- about the issues of the day. Everywhere I went, it seemed, I was offered a newsletter. I can see how it might get old, but I almost signed up. Putting together a modern-day Haggadah is one thing -- cool enough -- but selling a print copy and getting me to give them my email address to get a free download is ingenious. Super marketing. I’m skeptical of podcasts -- few are good -- but the two young, cool Jewish moms from the perfect demographic have a great sense of humor and personality! The first part of the first episode was like a Seinfeld for advice to moms. The video documentary about the four single moms -- somehow named Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, if I remember the prayer right, is amazing. Their stories are compelling.

Second Place
70 Faces Media, New York, NY     
“Alma” by Alma Staff
 
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Comment: Alma is a hip site with varied, useful info and a different kind of personality. It’s offbeat and humorous -- Little Dicky story, funny memes on Instagram, great explainer with easy to read links on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mixes humor with serious content. The Facebook page was used to focus on the issue of the day.

Category 21: Award for Excellence in a Multimedia Story

All entries competed in the same division.

First Place
The Boiling Point, Los Angeles, CA
“Welcoming the stranger with hot food, scissors and applause” by Sam Rubanowitz 
Click Here to Read Submission
Comment: A powerful example of reporting on one of the most important issues of this time. Also, a vivid illustration of religion come to life.

Second Place
Gillian Friedman, Salt Lake City, UT
“A Utah Orthodox rabbi said his childhood nanny sexually abused him for 10 years. Here's why he decided to tell his story for the first time” published in Deseret News
Click here to view submission
Comment: Stories of sexual abuse and the torment of survivors have been distressingly frequent. This, though, was a well-done deep dive into a still rarely explored and important part of that story.

Category 22: Foundation for Ethnic Understanding Award for Excellence in Interfaith Relations Reporting

Division A: Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Special Sections and Supplements; Web-based Outlets.


First Place
The Jewish Week, New York, NY
“Close encounters across the security barrier” by Sandee Brawarsky
Click Here to Read Submission

Second Place
B'nai B'rith Magazine, Washington, DC
“The sisterhood of Salaam Shalom: finding common ground” by Miranda Spivack 
Click Here to Read Submission

Honorable Mention
Moment Magazine, Washington, DC
“A (Torah) scribe goes to Washington” by Sarah Breger
Click Here to Read Submission

Division B: Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, Pittsburgh, PA
“Neglected Jewish cemetery in White Oak restored by non-Jewish volunteers” by Toby Tabachnick
Click Here to Read Submission
Comment: Excellent writing throughout, interesting subject and great interviews. It really captured me from beginning to end.

Second Place
The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, Pittsburgh, PA
“Mother Emanuel survivors visit Tree of Life, offer strength, solidarity” by Toby Tabachnick               
Click Here to Read Submission
Comment: Moving and insightful, this piece was well written. It would have been easy to go overboard, but this writer let the people tell the story.

Honorable Mention
Atlanta Jewish Times, Atlanta, GA
“Atlanta’s new approach to interfaith families” by Bob Bahr
Click Here to Read Submission
Comment: I liked how this piece touched on a variety of challenges, religions and generational differences. Excellent quotes and interviews.

Category 23: Award for Excellence in Writing about Food and Wine

Division A: Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Special Sections and Supplements; Web-based Outlets.

First Place
The Canadian Jewish News, Concord, ON
“Rise of the vegan Jew” by Michael Fraiman 
Click Here to Read Submission
Click Here to Read Submission
Comment: Important and optimistic piece on the rise of veganism among young Jews touching on cultural, religious, historical and communal aspects.

Second Place
Moment Magazine, Washington, DC
“The foods of Passovers past” by Ellen Wexler
Click Here to Read Submission
Comment: Author takes us on an historical journey back to her youth and the old world Pesach dishes her immigrant grandmother prepared and explains why their popularity is fading. Why no one makes gefilte fish from scratch anymore. Great cultural, historical and communal portrait.

Honorable Mention
Moment Magazine, Washington, DC
“Jews and 'shrooms” by Lilly Gelman 
Click Here to Read Submission
Comment: Wonderful piece.

Division B: Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
St. Louis Jewish Light, St. Louis, MO
“Midwestern roots of a seder staple: Just across the river is America’s horseradish hub” by Eric Berger 
Click here to view submission

Second Place
Atlanta Jewish Times, Atlanta, GA
“Holiday celebrations – French Sephardic style” by Martine Tartour 
Click here to view submission

Honorable Mention
Jewish Independent, Vancouver, BC
“Retirement offers new path,” “Balabusta preps for Pesach,” “Chocolate babka debacle,” “Enter focaccia, stage right,” “Pot roast for Rosh Hashanah,” “Scrumptious soup ’n’ cookies” by Shelley Civkin 
Click Here to Read Submission
Click Here to Read Submission
Click Here to Read Submission
Click Here to Read Submission
Click Here to Read Submission
Click Here to Read Submission

Category 24: Award for Excellence in Writing about Sports

Division A: Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Special Sections and Supplements; Web-based Outlets. 

First Place
The Jewish Journal of Greater LA, Los Angeles, CA
“Jewish ballplayers flashed leather on Yom Kippur, how can we forgive them?” by Louis Keene 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Lots of personality in this column, on an important Jewish sports issue, with some super turns of phrase. A fun read on what some people would say is a serious Jewish issue.

Second Place
Jewfolk Media, Minneapolis, MN
“Two traumatic pasts, one shared experience” by Lonny Goldsmith 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Writer did a good job telling the story and getting various perspectives on what seems like an innovative and expensive effort by a Jewish sports team owner, and son of Holocaust survivors, to teach his team and others about discrimination and hate.

Honorable Mention
New Jersey Jewish News, Whippany, NJ
“Bill Buckner and the unforgiving glare of history” by Gabe Kahn
Click Here to Read Submission
Comment: What does Bill Buckner’s flub in the 1986 World Series have to do with Judaism? The author explains and used Buckner’s error to offer a d’var reminding us “we are obligated to look for the good in each other, not focus on our all-too-human flaws.”

Division B: Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
The Boiling Point, Los Angeles, CA           
“Shalhevet announces it has suspended play against Valley Torah in basketball” by Alex Rubel 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Thoroughly reported, riveting account of a dispute involving the coaches of two Jewish high school basketball teams and whether one of them crossed a line in providing a third team (not from a Jewish school) with scouting advice before a big game.

Second Place
Atlanta Jewish Times, Atlanta, GA
“What Jews bring to Super Bowl LIII” by Roni Robbins and Eddie Samuels
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Comment: Informative, entertaining curtain-raiser on the Super Bowl in Atlanta that looked at the event from various Jewish angles.

Category 25: Award for Excellence in Writing about Seniors

Division A: Newspapers 15,000 circulation and over; Broadcast; Magazines; Special Sections and Supplements; Web-based Outlets. 

First Place
Jewish Action (Orthodox Union), New York, NY
“After retirement - a new stage, a new chapter, a new life” by Steve Lipman, Leah R. Lightman, Sara Leah Guttman, Pnina Baim and Bayla Sheva Brenner 
Click here to view submission

Second Place
Chabad.org, New York, NY
“In Chicago, reclaiming Jewish identity through adult circumcision” by Menachem Posner 
Click here to view submission

Division B: Newspapers 14,999 circulation and under.

First Place
Intermountain Jewish News, Denver, CO
“Neal Price retiring: half century of service” by Larry Hankin 
Click here to view submission
Comment: I truly appreciate that the writer took a standard retirement story and transformed it into a thoughtful profile of a Jewish professional. I feel like I really got to know Neal Price. I got a sense of what has motivated him. I got a sense of his humor. I got a sense of the serendipity that he and we all feel about our lives.

Second Place
Baltimore Jewish Times, Owings Mills, MD
“Closing the gap” by Victoria Brown 
Click here to view submission
Comment: It is difficult to write a slice-of-life story well, but this writer pulled it off. The writing was lovely. The elderly men and their flow of the conversation felt so real to me. The writer also tried her best to tell the story without judgment, which is not easy. As the icing on the cake, the photos and the layout were outstanding, especially the photo at the end of the two young men walking away.

Honorable Mention
Atlanta Jewish Times, Atlanta, GA
“Senior addiction close to home” by Eddie Samuels
Click here to view submission
Comment: This may be too obvious to say, but exposing yourself as former addict must be an excruciating decision to make. The writer who takes on such a story bears a great responsibility to treat the person and topic with sensitivity, while maintaining journalistic standards. The writer did just that, and thus gave Carol Waldman the chance to potentially save a life -- or lives.

Category 26: Award for Excellence in Headline Writing

All entries competed in the same division.

Not awarded.

Category 27: Award for General Excellence - Best Magazine

All entries competed in the same division.

First Place
Cleveland Jewish News, Cleveland, OH
“Jstyle” by Cleveland Jewish News Staff 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Great layout and design, good use of photos and graphics to illustrate interesting articles and profiles.

Second Place
SagaCity Media, Portland, OR
“Jewish in Seattle” by Neomi Rapoport and Emily Alhadeff 
Click here to view submission

Category 28: Award for General Excellence - Best Newspaper, Non-Weekly

All entries competed in the same division.

First Place
J. The Jewish News of Northern California, San Francisco, CA
“J. The Jewish News of Northern California” by J. Staff 
Click here to view submission
Comment: A nice mix and range of content. It's impressive that the staff conducted interviews and attended events.

Category 29: Award for General Excellence - Best Newspaper, Weekly

All entries competed in the same division.

First Place
The Jewish Journal of Greater LA, Los Angeles, CA
“The Jewish Journal of Greater LA” by David Suissa and Kelly Hartog 
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission

Second Place
Atlanta Jewish Times, Atlanta, GA
“Atlanta Jewish Times” by Kaylene Ladinsky, Roni Robbins, Lilli Jennison and Michael Morris 
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission
Click here to view submission

Category 30: Award for General Excellence - Best Website

All entries competed in the same division.

First Place
Moment Magazine, Washington, DC
“Moment Magazine” by Moment Magazine 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Wonderful to read online without so many visual distractions. It's clean and information is easy to find and read.

Second Place
The Forward Association, Inc., New York, NY
“Forward.com” by Forward Staff
Click here to view submission
Comment: Wonderful design, use of typography and photography.

Honorable Mention
JNS, Allston, MA              
“JNS” by Alex Traiman, Jonathan Tobin, Carin Smilk, Sean Savage and Ariel Ben Solomon 
Click here to view submission
Comment: Lots of places to keep reading, to find relative content all the while with nice and clean design.

Category 31: Award for Excellence in Creation of an Advertisement 

All entries competed in the same division.

First Place
Jewish Voice (Delaware), Wilmington, DE
“We grow stronger together" by Seth Katzen and Alex Tornek 
Click here to view submission
Comment: A bold, colorful and clean design helped the first place entry stand out. Good use of photo, text and logo.

Category 32: Award for Excellence in Creation of Marketing Material

All entries competed in the same division.

First Place
Jewish Voice (Delaware), Wilmington, DE
“j-VOICE Monthly media kit” by Seth Katzen, Jaidy Schweers, Carolyn Katwan and Dana Warwick 
Click here to view submission
Comment: The first place entry stood out because of strong design on the cover and consistency throughout in design and organization.

Second Place
Baltimore Jewish Times, Owings Mills, MD
“Diary of Anne Frank” by Frank Wagner
Click here to view submission

American jewish press association

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