PRESS RELEASE: Black Jewish Hip-Hop Video Premiere Kicks Off Be’chol Lashon Media Awards


Contact: Esther Fishman
V. 415.386.2604


San Francisco, May 19, 2011—A new music video, “This is Unity” by Black Orthodox Jewish hip-hop artist Y-Love highlighted the Be’chol Lashon International Think Tank May 13-16, at which the group’s 4th Annual Media Awards were announced. A new Children’s Book Award also was given.

This year’s winners are:

The Print Media was awarded to Dr. Carl Hoffman, who received the award for his Moment magazine article, “Letter from the Philippines,” telling the fascinating history and continuous Jewish life in the Asian archipelago nation. Hoffman, who came to the Philippines with Peace Corp, and was surprised to rediscover his Judaism and fall in love with a Phillippina and start a family. This article skillfully meshes the telling of his personal journey with that of this lesser known Jewish community.

Tamás Wormser received the New Media Award for his multiplatform interactive film and music website, “The Wandering Muse,” documenting the rich musical diversity of Jews around the world which feature the disappearing remnants of Jewish music in Uzbekistan to the multi layered Jewish arab music of Morroco. The site takes full advantage of new media to present an incredible tableau celebrating and preserving the ever-changing music of the Jewish Diaspora.

The Film prize was awarded to Nicole Opper and Avery Klein-Cloud for “Off and Running,” a documentary that tells the touching and empowering story of an African American high school track star adopted by two Jewish lesbians. Though set in a specific family, Avery’s coming of age story speaks to people of all backgrounds about the struggle to find identity. The film aired nationally on the PBS series “POV” in September 2010, following a theatrical release earlier in the year.

A life time achievement award in Children’s Literature went to Dr. Carolivia Herron. This honor was given to Dr. Herron for her commitment to creating children’s literature that explores the diversity of Jewish life with particular attention to African American Jews as in the story “Always an Olivia,” an autobiographically based story of a bicultural African/African American Jewish family through the centuries. Herron is also well known for her controversial, and highly praised, children’s book “Nappy Hair,” which also touches on shared Black-Jewish culture in the character of the African American narrator Mordecai. A professor of epic poetry Herron has held professorships at Harvard University, Mount Holyoke College, and several other elite institutions.

The honors, along with prizes of $1,000 each, were presented at the Be’chol Lashon International Think Tank in San Francisco on Sunday, May 15.

“Rewarding quality media that focuses on global Jewish diversity has paid off. We had more entries this year than any year in the past.” said Diane Tobin, founder and director of Be’chol Lashon and the annual think tank that gathers leaders from Jewish communities around the world. The organization now hopes to turn its attention to strengthening the representations of global Jewish life in the field of children’s literature.

Awards chairman Robin Washington, editor of Minnesota’s Duluth News Tribune and the award’s initial recipient in 2008, said all the contest entries are among the best he’s seen in decades of judging journalism and literature competitions.

“This work shows this is a serious and significant award,” he said. “When you read, watch and interact with these works, you can’t help but learn something and come away enlightened and inspired — and wanting to share them with the world.”

Judges included author Rebecca Walker, Hollywood director Christopher Erskin, Kevin Olivas of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and freelance journalist David Kaufman.

Be’chol Lashon (In Every Tongue) grows and strengthens the Jewish people through ethnic, cultural, and racial inclusiveness.