The Times of Israel’s Jewish world editor Amanda Borschel-Dan received the B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism, which recognizes excellence in Diaspora reportaģe, at a ceremony in Jerusalem on Thursday. She was given the award along with Allison Kaplan Sommer of Haaretz newspaper.
In a statement explaining the reasoning for Borschel-Dan’s award, members of the B’nai B’rith jury wrote: “In her writing, as in her position as editor, Amanda Borschel-Dan strives to augment mutual understanding and the process of familiarity between Israel and Diaspora Jews. Borschel-Dan understands the singular importance of the topic she specializes in and she engages in it with intensivity and true dedication. Her writing is articulate, she delves into research and her professional scope in wide.”
In her comments upon receiving the award, Borschel-Dan thanked the jury, and said she was “very grateful” to have “free rein” to explore the issues that are close to her heart and that excite her journalistic curiosity.
Borschel-Dan recounted how she only discovered she was Jewish when she was nine years old. She said she decided to immigrate to Israel “at 24, with only a backpack and my violin,” after realizing that as someone “whose center of life is not the synagogue,” her future children’s children would very likely not grow up to be Jews if she remained in the United States.
She said it was always important to her that there is dialogue between Jews from Israel and the Diaspora, as well as between religious and secular Jews from all denominations.
Borschel-Dan said that she views the Jewish people as “a big family.”
“A family needs to be familiar with all of its members. But more importantly, a family must recognize and accept all of its members as family,” said Borschel-Dan.
Also honored Thursday were Channel 1 television anchor Yaakov Ahimeir, who received a lifetime achievement award, and musician Idan Raichel, who received a special citation for fostering Israel-Diaspora relations through the arts.
Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer was the keynote speaker at the ceremony, which was held in Mishkenot Sha’ananim, facing the Old City of Jerusalem.