From Jewish medical ethics to the mikveh: journalists complete ’08 Gralla Program

Gralla Fellows Kay Campbell (right) and Christine Morente

2008 Gralla FellowsWALTHAM, Mass. – Fourteen journalists from eight states and Canada participated in the 2008 Gralla Fellows Program for Religion Journalists at Brandeis University.

The Gralla Fellows Program, the premier advanced journalism seminar in the nation on the American Jewish community, is designed to enhance journalists’ knowledge of Judaism, American Jewish life and trends relevant to religion reporting. The program was held July 13-18 on the Brandeis campus. Fellows, including religion reporters from media outlets including The Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, were selected from a competitive pool of candidates in print, broadcast and digital media.
During this year’s program fellows had the opportunity to meet with leading scholars, communal leaders, and reporters to explore topics ranging from politics and the coming election, to American Jews and Islam, to how the economy impacts religion. In addition to the seminars and workshops, fellows visited the Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and Education Center in Newton, Mass., two synagogues in the Boston area, and other Jewish sites to become better acquainted with Judaism and to learn more about issues in Jewish life they can report about.

Jonathan D. Sarna, the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, and the director of Hornstein: The Jewish Professional Leadership Program @ Brandeis, directs the Gralla Program along with associate director Ellen Smith.

Founded in 1998, the Gralla Program is open to journalists in the early and middle stages of their careers.  In odd-numbered years the program focuses on journalists in the Jewish press.  In even-numbered years, the program is offered to religion journalists.

The program is made possible by a grant from Milton Gralla, co-founder of Gralla Publications and creator and editor of outstanding trade publications for more than 30 years.  Fellows receive funding for tuition, room and board, and a travel stipend.

Since 1998, the Gralla Program has trained more than 200 fellows.

The 2008 Gralla Fellows include:

Kay Campbell, faith and values editor, The Huntsville Times, Huntsville, Ala.
Deena Guzder, freelance journalist, New York City, N.Y.
Barbara Karkabi, religion writer, Houston Chronicle, Houston, Texas
Alana Elias Kornfeld, assistant editor and Judaism editor,, New York City, N.Y.
Frank Lockwood, religion editor, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, Ark.
Christine Morente, faith editor/staff writer, San Mateo County Times, San Mateo, Calif.
Max Pearlstein, Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass.
Mirko Petricevic, religion reporter, Waterloo Region Record, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Jacqueline Salmon, religion reporter, Washington Post, Fairfax, Va.
Christine Scheller, freelance journalist, Irvine, Calif.
Lois Solomon, religion reporter, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Boca Raton, Fla.
Tamar Snyder, staff writer, The Jewish Week, New York City, N.Y.
Sharon Udasin, staff writer, The Jewish Week, New York City, N.Y.
Steven Vegh, religion staff writer, The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.

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