May 4, 2023

ISRAEL21c Editor Nicky Blackburn has won an Award of Excellence in the Wilbur Awards 2023 for a first-person story on celebrating Christmas in Israel, published in ISRAEL21c on December 21. 

The award was given by the Religion Communicators Council (RCC), a professional association that recognizes and cultivates excellence in communications of religious faith and values, as part of the Wilbur Awards ceremony held on April 21. 

Blackburn’s story, “Why I love Christmas in Israel,” explores how she grew to love the uniqueness of celebrating a holiday with her mixed Jewish and non-Jewish family in a country where Christmas is barely acknowledged.

Judges wrote: “The work is clearly a heartfelt sharing. The author has had this ongoing very personal experience and learned much from it. What was first a challenge for her became a beloved family tradition. 

“It was a gift for her to write about it to share with others. It was uplifting to read about her transformation through the years as well as the transformation in Israel.”

Another added: “The writer pulls you in to learn from her point of view and takes you straight to the holidays. I found myself back in a festive spirit reading this, even though Christmas was months ago.”

The Award of Excellence is for entries deemed to be “of excellent quality and unquestionably worthy of recognition,” according to the RCC.

This year there were 14 Wilbur Award winners in the fields of print, online journalism, book publishing, television and film.

The Wilbur Award, which has been presented annually since 1949, is the top honor provided by the RCC and recognizes the most outstanding work in the communication of religious issues, values, and themes in secular media.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director

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