PRESS RELEASE: Stories of Yemenite, Chinese and Cuban Jews Win Be’chol Lashon Media Awards


Contact: Diane Tobin
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Be’chol Lashon Media Award winner Milos Silber, left, with Davi Cheng, Robin Washington, and Diane Tobin.

San Francisco, May 22, 2010—The dramatic account of a secret U.S. government mission to rescue Jews from Yemen, the ongoing story of Jewish life in Castro’s Cuba and an interactive Web site on Chinese Jews took top honors in the third annual Be’chol Lashon Media Awards.

Miriam Jordan of The Wall Street Journal received the print media award for “Secret Mission Rescues Yemen’s Jews,” [PDF] which told of the dangerous journey of Jews from one of their most ancient homelands to suburban New York.

The new media award went to Candy Cheng and Brad Stell of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism for their Web site “Chinese and Chosen.” The multimedia presentation includes moving footage and interactive text to chronicle stories of those whose lives intersect two vibrant, ancient and proud cultures.

Brazilian-born filmmaker Milos Silber of New York took the film award for “Jubanos: The Jews of Cuba.” The independent documentary, now set for national distribution, tells the history of Jews on the island nation before and after the advent of communism.

The honors, along with prizes of $1,000 each, were presented at the Be’chol Lashon International Think Tank in San Francisco on Saturday, May 22.

“The quality of work was truly impressive and reflective of the richness of these stories,” said Diane Tobin, founder and director of Be’chol Lashon and the annual think tank that gathers leaders from Jewish communities around the world.

Awards chairman Robin Washington, editor of Minnesota’s Duluth News Tribune and the award’s initial recipient in 2008, said all the contest entries were “well beyond the 101 level” and elevated the discussion of diverse Jews to serious, thought-provoking discourse.

“We’re long past the days of people writing that Black Jews exist,” he said. “Each of these honorees told of specific and meaningful stories that made you feel about the subjects involved.”

Judges included author Rebecca Walker, Hollywood director Christopher Erskin, Alexis Chiu of People Magazine, Kevin Olivas of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, freelance journalist David Kaufman, and Dr. Jamie Wilson of Salem State University.

An initiative of the San Francisco-based Institute for Jewish & Community Research, Be’chol Lashon (In Every Tongue) advocates for a global understanding of the Jewish people that reflects contemporary identity.