Monday, November 14, 2016

The Simon Rockower Awards

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the Simon Rockower Awards, the American Jewish Press Association's highest honor. The Simon Rockower Awards were named for my great-grandfather, and established by my grandfather and his brothers. I am proud to have helped spearhead a campaign within my family to renew the awards for another decade-and-a-half. These are the remarks I sent for the Simon Rockower Awards: It is my distinct honor to send greetings on the eve of the 35th annual Simon Rockower Awards.  For three-and-a-half decades, these awards have been synonymous with excellence in Jewish Journalism.

Tonight, we celebrate the achievements of the American Jewish press in its work to chronicle the American Jewish community.  On behalf of the entire Rockower family, I thank you for your continued dedication and commitment to sharing the stories of the American Jewish community.  Your work to faithfully tell the stories of our people is profound, and both the Rockower family and the entire American Jewish community are honored by your tireless efforts.

This year, I am proud to note that our family renewed its support of the Simon Rockower Awards, and its connection to the American Jewish Press Association.  Our family is honored to continue its support of the awards with a multigenerational campaign within the Rockower family to sponsor the awards for years to come.  Just as you are committed to telling the stories of the American Jewish community, the Rockower family is committed to honoring your work over the coming decades.

The Rockower family would also like to thank the American Jewish Press Association for being a partner in the Simon Rockower Awards events.  I would like to especially recognize the work of past-President Marshall Weiss, President Rick Kestenbaum and Executive Director Cathy Herring for their role in the campaign to renew the awards.

As we have seen a rise in anti-Semitism in America during this election season, the likes of which the American Jewish community hasn’t experienced in decades, your work has become more important and vital.  Hate and hate speech flourishes when it is met with silence; thanks to your continued collective voices, the American Jewish community will not be silent in the face of this looming spectre.  I believe that this was one of the reasons that Simon Rockower’s children set-up the award in the first place: so that even in darkening times, the American Jewish press would always stand proud and firm as the voice of our community.

PS: I was the surprise keynote speaker a decade ago, these were my remarks at that event.

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