St. Louis Jewish Light wins five Rockower Awards

The St. Louis Jewish Light had quite a night Thursday at the 40th Annual Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism.

The Jewish newspaper, in the weekly and biweekly newspaper divison, won five awards, which were presented by the American Jewish Press Association during a virtual ceremony.

“We are so pleased that even during the toughest year, a global pandemic, the Jewish Light could tell stories that connected the community and resonated with others,” said Ellen Futterman, editor-in-chief of the Light. “We look forward to continuing to do so in 2021 and beyond.”

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Futterman earned three awards.

She won first place in the Award for Excellence in Deadline/Breaking News Reporting category for her story on a St. Louis Jewish family’s battle with COVID-19. Five members of the Weinhaus family, including Jane Weinhaus, a beloved teacher at Temple Israel’s Deustch Early Childhood Center, became sick with the virus in the early days of the pandemic. The story attracted national attention and was picked up by NBC’s “Today” show, ABC’s “Good Morning America” and CNN. All five members recovered.

Futterman also won first place in the Award for Excellence in Feature Writing for her Father’s Day story on a St. Louis veterinarian’s quest to find his birth father and first time meeting him at age 57.

Futterman and Eric Berger, associate editor of the Light, won second place in the Award for Excellence in Business Reporting category for their story on local Jewish business owners’ struggle to stay open amidst the lockdown caused by the pandemic.

Tony Westbrook, assistant director of Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis, received an honorable mention in the Award for Excellence in Single Commentary category for his column on his dismay at the number of people who spoke out against anti-Semitic comments made by an NFL player but remained silent about the racism people of color regularly encounter in America.

Margi Lenga Kahn, a regular contributor to the Light, received an honorable mention in the Award for Excellence in Writing about Food and Wine category for her column on the origin of traditional Hanukkah dishes — and her efforts to experiment with those favorites.

Including this year, the Light has won 37 Rockower awards over the last decade.

Former Light intern Kayla Steinberg, a Washington University graduate, received an honorable mention in the Award for Excellence in Writing About Women category for her Washington Jewish Week story, “Alana Suskin’s Deep Dive.”

You can see a complete list of winners here.