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February 20, 2015 10:45 am

‘Forward’ Editor Wins Journalism Prize for Editorial on Conversion to Judaism

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Forward Editor-in-Chief Jane Eisner won the 2015 David Twersky Journalism Award, which comes with a medal and a $1,000 prize. Photo: Twitter.

JNS.org – Jane Eisner, editor-in-chief of The Forward, was announced as the winner of an annual award named after a distinguished Jewish journalist for her editorial on the difficulties facing prospective converts to Judaism.

“Why is it so Hard to Convert to Judaism?”—published by The Forward last June—earned Eisner the 2015 David Twersky Journalism Award, which comes with a medal and a $1,000 prize.

Eisner wrote in the editorial that those “who care about sustaining the future of the modern Jewish family” need to “radically rethink conversion.”

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“Instead of playing hard-to-get, or acting as if Jews are part of a club with admission standards higher than Harvard Law School, we need to open our arms, drop our reluctance, lower the barriers and not just welcome converts to join our synagogues,” she wrote. “We need to encourage people to become Jews, in their way, in their time—especially when marriage and child rearing are involved.”

David Twersky’s daughter Anna said, “I can’t speak for my dad, but he believed in the facts, and he believed in the debate, because that meant people were discussing the issues. After I read [Eisner’s] article, my first reaction was to make my roommate read it so that we could talk about it.”

The award, in its fourth year, was established to recognize the work of journalists at the New Jersey Jewish News (NJJN) and The Forward, the newspapers where David Twersky (who died in 2010) worked for a combined two decades. Twersky’s time at The Forward “was a scoop-filled period when he established the newspaper as a serious voice for the Jewish community in Washington,” and at NJJN he “transformed a community paper into a strong, state-wide publication through a series of mergers with neighboring Jewish community newspapers,” according to a press release.

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