Hella Winston Wins Two Jewish Journalism Awards For Child Sex Abuse, Shomrim Coverage

By Shmarya Rosenberg (FaileMessiah.com)
June 14, 2012

Two American Jewish Press Association's Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism are awarded to Hella Winston for reports she wrote for The Jewish Week on haredi child sexual abuse and the Shomrim. Phil Jacobs also won one for his abuse coverage, and Larry Yudelson, A.K.A. Reb Yudel, and Shammai Engelmayer won for a series of editorials about haredi violence in Beit Shemesh.

From the awards' webpage:

Category 6: Excellence in News Reporting

Division A. Newspapers over 15,000 circulation and all Magazines/Websites.

First Place
The Jewish Week, New York, NY

In Lakewood Abuse Cases, ‘A Parallel System Of Justice’” by Hella Winston

Comments: Thoroughly reported, well-written story about an important problem and pressing moral issue. Kudos to the writer and her publication for bravery, and for handling story in such a professional manner.

Second Place
The Jewish Week, New York, NY
Tragedy in Borough Park Puts Shomrim Under Scrutiny” by Hella Winston

Comments: Very good examination of the role of Shomrim's parallel law enforcement system, and how the interplay of politics covered for the group's tragic failure to place a child's safety above all other considerations.

The Jewish Week won other Rockowers along with the two for Winston's pieces.

But almost completely absent is the Forward – which isn't surprising, because the Forward really didn't do much in 2011. The paper has lacked vision the last several years, and losing nearly its entire staff when Jane Eisner was hired as editor-in-chief certainly didn't help. (Neither, I think, does Eisner's reputation, deserved or not, as a selfish, arrogant person with limited knowledge, even now, of the beat her paper covers.)

But I think the Forward will probably win something next year for Larry Cohler-Esses' pieces on his face-to-face meeting with a Hamas leader. (The genesis  of that story originated with work he did previously for another employer.)

This year, the only mention the Forward got is for what essentially is a guest blog post. It isn't even mentioned by name:

Category 2: Award for Excellence in Single Commentary

Division A. Newspapers over 15,000 circulation and all Magazines/Websites.

Second Place
Judy Bolton-Fasman, Newton Center, MA
Gilad Shalit Inspires My Daughter to Join the IDF

Comments: An intimate glimpse at a mother's appreciation of how her daughter shaped her parents' ideals into a commitment of her own.

Division B. Newspapers under 14,999 circulation.

Phil Jacobs won for a piece about child sex abuse as well, in the same category as that Forward blog post:

First Place
Washington Jewish Week, Rockville, MD

When a Molester Dies, He is Still Very Much Alive” by Phil Jacobs
Comments: Very powerful, moving commentary on the power of molester to continue to cause pain to victims from beyond the grave.


Reb Yudel and (disgraced PR flack) Juda Engelmayer's father Shammai also shared an award:

Category 4: Award for Excellence in Editorial Writing

Division A. Newspapers over 15,000 circulation and all Magazines/Websites.

First Place
Jewish Standard, Teaneck, NJ

A Deafening Silence” by Shammai Engelmayer and Larry Yudelson

Comments: A stirring pair of editorials denouncing the silence by both American Jews and Israeli officials in the face of unacceptable violence by ultra-orthodox Jews against Jewish school children in the town of Beit Shemesh.