BALTIMORE, MD - February 9, 2006 - Cross-Currents, a blog written by traditional Orthodox Rabbis and teachers, today took first place honors in the Second Annual Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards, sponsored by the IsraellyCool blog and the Jerusalem Post. Countering portrayals of the Orthodox as technological Luddites banning the Internet, Cross-Currents, sponsored by the Jewish outreach organization Project Genesis, won the gold as both the Best Group Blog and Best Designed, finishing second only to the Jerusalem Post's own Dry Bones cartoon in the Best Overall category.
Cross-Currents was created by Rabbi Yaakov Menken, Director of Project Genesis, and Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, director of Project NextStep of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. The writers of Cross-Currents, found at http://www.cross-currents.com, post their thoughts and insights on an ongoing basis, sharing their reflections on news, current events and Jewish issues.
Cross-Currents represents a broad diversity of opinions, and dismantles many common stereotypes about the Orthodox Jewish world. Adlerstein says, "For decades, Torah Jewry in America was at the mercy of editors who were at best benignly tolerant of our community and views. The world of the blog has changed all that." Writer Eytan Kobre notes, "the blog offers me the opportunity to communicate directly with the readers, unfiltered by an often hostile and usually uninformed media."
Jonathan Rosenblum, another writer, appears each week in Jewish publications both in and outside Orthodox circles. Yet Cross-Currents is a welcome change of pace. "For me," he says, "the attraction of blog posting is the ability to enter into a conversation without polishing every word."
While the blog awards were a very informal measure of popularity, the wins still came as a pleasant surprise -- and also provided Cross-Currents with additional exposure. "We've seen remarkable and consistent growth since we started about a year ago," Menken remarked, "but we finished the contest with 50% more readers."
Project Genesis, Inc. is a Baltimore-based organization dedicated to leveraging Internet technologies for Jewish outreach and education. With their leading-edge tools and collaboration with a host of other organizations and educators, Project Genesis web sites such as Torah.org, JewishAnswers.org, TorahMedia.com, and the award-winning blog, Cross-Currents.com, deliver Jewish content to hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors.