So who won the ‘Jewish Oscars’?

By Jenni Frazer, September 26, 2008

Acclaimed American pianist and entertainer Michael Feinstein was honoured in London as a Jewish "Cultural Ambassador" on Sunday in the 2008 Jewish Cultural Awards.

The awards, sponsored by the JC, celebrate contributions to Jewish culture by stars of stage, screen, music and television, and, for the first time, literature.

Mr Feinstein said that his "Jewish Oscar" award, presented to him by actress Maureen Lipman, was "a celebration for Jewish mothers everywhere".

The ceremony, hosted by TV presenter Emily Maitlis and produced by impresario Harvey Goldsmith, mixed awards with stand-out performances.

A clearly moved Anne Sofie von Otter, the mezzo-soprano who won the Music Award for her album Terezin/Theresienstadt, sang songs for the 400-strong audience which had been composed in the ghetto camp.

The Visual Arts Award was won by an exhibition on show at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds - The Object Quality of the Problem: Israel/Palestine. This show, curated by Penny Curtis, who accepted the award, brought together Israeli, Palestinian, European and American artists to look at the condition of lives on both sides of the conflict.

Two awards were made for film and television: factual and fiction. Jason Hutt, 31, director of the TV documentary Orthodox Stance, the story of a Russian Jewish boxer in New York, made his first visit to London to collect his award, while the fiction prize went to the feature film The Counterfeiters.

Adolph Burger, 91, one of the original forgers on whose story the film is based, still lives in Prague. He gave filmed testimony aboutproducing fake sterling currency for the Nazis.

Novelist Justin Cartwright beat a close-knit field for his book, The Song Before It Is Sung, while Bertie Carvel, who played Leo Frank in the musical Parade, accepted the theatre award from actress Janet Suzman.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to pianist Murray Perahia, who performed Chopin Etudes.

Violinist Maxim Vengerov, who presented the award to Mr Perahia, said: "Being here tonight is so important to me because the work of the LJCC is really indispensable, binding Jewish people together regardless of their religious or political bias... and tonight is a celebration of what can be achieved."

The event benefited the London Jewish Cultural Centre.

Who won what at the awards

Lifetime Achievement:
Murray Perahia KBE

Cultural Ambassador:
Michael Feinstein

Literature: Justin Cartwright

Film and TV Fiction: The Counterfeiters
Film and TV Fact: Orthodox Stance 
Theatre: Parade
Music: Anne-Sofie von Otter
Art: The Object Quality of the Problem: Israel/Palestine

Last updated: 1:40pm, September 24 2008