June 3, 2015
Dr. Rafael Medoff, founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, has won a first-place Rockower Award from the American Jewish Press Association for an essay on Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan’s efforts to bring about a more forceful American response to the Holocaust.
Medoff won the prestigious Simon Rockower Award for Excellence in Jewish Journalism for 2014 for his article, “Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan: Forgotten Pioneer of Jewish Activism,” which was published in the Fall 2014 edition of the Orthodox Union’s magazine, Jewish Action.
The essay described how Rabbi Bar-Ilan, leader of the Mizrachi religious Zionist movement, traveled to Washington in early 1943 to lobby government officials for U.S. action to rescue Jews from the Nazis. The rabbi told one senator, “If horses were being slaughtered as are the Jews of Poland, there would by now be a loud demand for organized action against such cruelty…Somehow, when it concerns Jews, everybody remains silent.” The article also chronicled how Rabbi Bar-Ilan repeatedly pressed American Jewish leaders to take a more activist stance on the rescue issue.
Dr. Medoff is the author of fifteen books about Jewish history, Zionism, and the Holocaust.
The award will be presented at the Jewish Federation’s General Assembly in Washington, D.C. in November. Founded in 1944, the AJPA is the professional association for the English-language Jewish Press in North America.