Light wins five national Jewish press awards

From top left: Jewish Light Editor Ellen Futterman, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus Robert A. Cohn,  columnist Eric Mink and editorial writer Dale Singer recently received Rockower awards from the American Jewish Press Association.


The St. Louis Jewish Light won five Simon Rockower Awards, the annual prizes for excellence in Jewish journalism given by the American Jewish Press Association (AJPA). The categories in which the paper earned honors were commentary, personal essay, editorial writing, feature writing and writing about health care, among newspapers with a circulation of 15,000 or under.

The awards, which celebrate work published in 2017, were presented June 19 at the AJPA’s 2018 annual conference in Cleveland. 

Light Editor Ellen Futterman received a first-place award for Excellence in Health Care Writing for her story “Kantor to Cantor,” published in September 2017. It detailed St. Louisan Lynnsie Kantor’s journey after she decided to donate a kidney to Congregation B’nai Amoona’s Cantor Emeritus Leon Lissek, who now lives in Teaneck, N.J. 

“The winner in a very competitive category, this article well explains what it’s like to give and to receive a kidney,” read the judge’s comments. 

In addition, Futterman received second place in the Louis Rapoport Award for Excellence in Commentary for three of her News & Schmooze columns: “Face-to-face with violence: Silence no longer an option,” “Letter from my Dad to his speaks movingly across the decades” and “Forming a Jewish response to mental illness.” This is the third time Futterman’s column has won a Rockower in this category since she came to the Light as editor in 2009. 

 The Light’s other 2018 winners are:

• Robert A. Cohn and Dale Singer, who took second place for Excellence for Editorial Writing. Cohn also won second place for Excellence in Feature Writing for his story, “Saying Kaddish a century later,” about the remains of a man who were laid to rest in St. Louis 100 years after he died. 

• Eric Mink, who earned second place in Excellence in Personal Essay for “The emotional toll of fallen headstones.” The column told about his visit to Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery after more than 150 headstones were toppled last year.

“These five Rockowers highlight the remarkable work our talented and dedicated staff and freelancers produce week after week,” said Scott Berzon, executive director of the Light. “Given the stiff competition — more than 700 entries were received in 22 categories — I am so proud that our newspaper stands out nationally amongst so many others.”

The annual AJPA Rockower Awards are judged by a panel of professional journalists from around the nation. They include current and former editors and reporters at The Jerusalem Post, The New York Times, Barron’s, Gannett News Service, U.S. News & World Report and New York Daily News, among others.

The Simon Rockower Awards were established in 1979 by the family of Simon Rockower to honor his commitment to outstanding Jewish journalism in America. The Light has won 35 Rockower awards in the past decade.