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Regina Brett was selected as the top columnist in the country as the Cleveland Jewish News earned three first-place awards in the 36th annual Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism, the American Jewish Press Association announced June 15. These awards honor achievements in Jewish media published in 2016.

Brett won the Louis Rapoport Award for Excellence in Commentary for newspapers with a circulation of 14,999 and under. She also won this award in 2014.

Her winning columns were: “C’mon, Bernie, it’s OK to tell us you’re a Jew”; “The ‘Wall’ comes tumbling down for women”; and “Wiesel – may he live on in all his words.”

The judges said, “Regina Brett’s essays are clear, personal and remarkably heartfelt. Whether she’s lamenting Bernie Sanders’ refusal to identify as a specifically Jewish candidate, celebrating the meaning of the Western Wall or eulogizing Elie Weisel, her writing strikes an emotional chord and invites readers to contemplate familiar subjects in meaningful new ways.”

Staff Reporter Amanda Koehn won first place for Excellence in Feature Writing for newspapers with a circulation of 7,500 to 14,999. Her winning entry was about “Local Conservative rabbis struggle with interfaith marriage question after group expels colleague.”

Cleveland Jewish Publication Company Lifestyles Editor Michael C. Butz earned first place for Excellence in Social Justice Reporting for newspapers with a circulation of 14,999 and under for “Jewish community commits to fight human trafficking in Northeast Ohio.”

The judges said of Butz’s article, “Human trafficking is a disturbing criminal victimization that crosses most communal and political lines. This story shows how Cleveland’s Jewish community participated in pushing back during the Republication convention and where more effort is needed.”

“That our writers’ hard work and creativity were recognized by the AJPA is both gratifying and a testament to the CJN’s efforts to deliver meaningful journalism to Northeast Ohio’s Jewish community,” said Kevin S. Adelstein, publisher and CEO of the Cleveland Jewish News and president of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company. “This honor is symbolic of the important role the entire CJN staff plays in the community, and moving forward, we’ll continue our commitment to building upon these award-winning efforts.” 

The awards will be presented at the Rockower Awards Banquet in conjunction with AJPA’s annual conference from Nov. 13-15 in Los Angeles, which runs concurrently with the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly.

For a complete list of winners, visit bit.ly/2rqHIdJ.

This year, the CJN won 23 awards in the 2017 All Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards from The Press Club of Cleveland and 10 awards in the 2016 Ohio Associated Press Media Editors contest.

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