Washington Jewish Week honored
Washington Jewish Week has received a first-place Simon Rockower Award for Excellence in Jewish Journalism from the American Jewish Press Association. The Boris Smolar Award for Excellence in Comprehensive Coverage or Investigative Reporting (newspapers under 15,000) was given for the paper's coverage of Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County in Bethesda and the investigation into Rabbi Jonathan Maltzman's discretionary fund. The bulk of reporting on the series of articles was by staff writer Eric Fingerhut with some reporting by editor Debra Rubin.
Other locally based publications winning Rockowers were Babaganewz children's magazine, Wheaton (overall graphic design); Moment magazine, D.C. (personality profiles, feature writing, commentary); and Jewish Woman, D.C. (graphic design).
The awards were presented during the AJPA's annual conference last week in Evanston, Ill., which included the re-election of WJW publisher Craig Burke to the executive committee. Rubin remains on the executive committee as a past president.
'A beacon of democracy'
Calling Israel a "beacon of democracy," Grammy award-winning singer Melissa Manchester Sunday evening accepted the Israel Cultural Award during the Israel Bonds of Greater Washington annual Ambassador's Ball.
Manchester, who quipped that she grew up in a family that was "beyond Reform" -- "I'd like to think of us as loose Jews," she said, noting her family lived near a synagogue. "On the High Holidays, we'd open the window, get back into bed and listen for the shofar" -- said that through her children, she has been taking a "journey into a deeper connection to Judaism."
"I'd like to express my love and gratitude to my children who through their years of study have taught me so much about Judaism," Manchester said.
Her daughter became a bat mitzvah last September; her son will become a bar mitzvah in two years.
Among the songs she sang was the prayer "V'al Kulam," a part of the Amidah.
She said the tune was that used in her synagogue, the Stephen S. Wise Temple in Los Angeles, where, she said in an interview, she attends Friday evening services once or twice a month.
More than 500 people, who purchased $6 million in Israel Bonds, attended the ball, held at the Grand Hyatt in the District. The local Bonds office sold more than $13 million in bonds the past year, said dinner co-chair Philip Bobrow.
Web site draws censure
Two Maryland rabbis are taking issue with a Web site that opposes the re-election campaign of State Sen. Alex Mooney. DefeatMooney.com charges the Frederick legislator with "legalized gay bashing" and warns, "If we do not stand up to Senator Mooney's hate, then the homeless, the mentally ill, the elderly or [deja vu] the Jews might be next."
Addressing nine constituencies from Republicans and Democrats to Christians and Jews, the site offers a message for each, including this: "If you are Jewish, please take an observation of this man's actions and remember the phrase; never again."
Decrying this allusion to the Holocaust, Rabbi Herzel Kranz of the Orthodox Silver Spring Jewish Center held a press conference at Beth Shalom Congregation in Frederick on Tuesday morning.
"The Defeat Mooney Committee is rushing to score political points," Kranz was quoted as saying in a press release. "Obviously they do not care about the memory of the Holocaust."
An official at Beth Shalom noted that the independent congregation's spiritual leader, Rabbi Morris Kosman, was not involved in this effort.
New deadline for bank claims
The United States and France extended by six months the deadline for Jewish claims against French banks. The claims may be filed by Jews who say their accounts were frozen during the Nazi occupation of France, the U.S. State Department said last Friday. The new deadline is Jan. 18.
New group finances aliyah
Some 400 North American Jews are slated to make aliyah next month with the help of an organization created to finance immigration. The organization finances aliyah with the help of private donors that includes a Christian group. The immigrants will arrive in Israel on July 9 on a chartered plane organized by Nefesh B'Nefesh. Working in coordination with the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Absorption, the group provides new immigrants with economic assistance in the form of one-time grants. It also will provide a hot line in Israel to help address such issues as finding housing and jobs. Funding for the initial group of immigrants comes mostly from a $2 million grant from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the group's president, said this is the first time American Christians are funding Jewish immigration to Israel.
UJC plans solidarity Shabbat
Synagogues across North America will hold a Shabbat of solidarity with Israel on June 14-15. United Jewish Communities, the umbrella group of North American federations, is asking rabbis to use their sermons to discuss solidarity with Israel. UJC also hopes the effort will draw awareness to its Israel Emergency Campaign, which has raised $230 million of its goal of $300 million for terror relief in Israel.
-- Compiled by Aaron Leibel with reports from Debra Rubin, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and other sources.
This story was published in the WashingtonJewishWeek
on: Thursday, June 13, 2002