Jewish Federation's Sets 10th Anniversary First Amendment Dinner

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga invites the Chattanooga community to its 10th annual First Amendment Dinner on Thursday, July 13 at 6 p.m. at the Jewish Cultural Center, 5461 North Terrace Road.

"This event educates us about our first amendment rights and honors local veterans for their military service," officials said.

The keynote speakers will be Pam Sohn and Clint Cooper opposing editors of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

“We felt that Sohn and Cooper represent the Chattanooga Times Free Press’ statement attributed to Adolph Ochs ‘To give the news impartially, without fear or favor,’" said Michael Dzik, executive director of the Jewish Federation.

The cost for this annual event is $12 (free for veterans and current military personnel) if reserved before July 11. After July 11, the cost is $14 for both veterans and non-veterans. RSVP to 493-0270 ext. 10 or rsvp@jewishchattanooga.com. Space is limited.

The First Amendment Dinner was started ten years ago as a way to honor veterans as well as military personnel and inform the public of their First Amendment Rights. Past speakers have included Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Hedy Weinberg of the ACLU, Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist Clay Bennett, among others.   “It is increasingly important for the public to understand the importance of keeping the freedoms we have grown to enjoy and to respect those who serve our country in order to keep these freedoms.” said Mr. Dzik.

The Times Free Press publishes two editorial pages. On the left side, the Times opinion page offers a more liberal perspective and commentary. On the right, the Free Press editorial page presents a conservative viewpoint.  

Mr. Cooper, a writer and editor in Chattanooga for 37 years and Chattanooga native, is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He began his journalism career in 1980 as sports writer for the Chattanooga Free Press. For 20 years, Mr. Cooper was sports news editor for the Free Press, and was named assistant sports editor in 1999. Until taking this editorial post,, he was a feature writer primarily covering the faith beat.

During Mr. Cooper's time in the sports department, the Free Press received the Tennessee Sports Writers Association award for Best Section. He has been honored by the Southern League Baseball association for team coverage of the Chattanooga Lookouts. Mr. Cooper is a well-known figure in Chattanooga's faith community, having written a weekly column on religion for more than a decade. Mr. Cooper represents the conservative right side of the editorial page.

Pam Sohn has been an award-winning reporter and editor in Chattanooga for more than 30 years.  Ms. Sohn began her journalism career at the Anniston (Al.) Star before coming to work for the Chattanooga Times and later the Chattanooga Times Free Press. In those years, she has been a reporter, assistant lifestyle editor, wire editor, city editor, Sunday editor, projects team leader, and now opinion editor

Ms. Sohn has won numerous writing and editing awards in both Alabama and Tennessee, including first-place honors for breaking news, investigative news, public service, features, reporting without a deadline, and editorials. During her tenure as Sunday editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the paper received the 2002 first-place honors for Best Sunday editions and Sweepstakes Award -- best paper in the state.  Ms. Sohn represents the liberal left side of the editorial page.


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