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1985

Looking Back at the JN Chanukah Art Contest

From the DJN Foundation Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History

Mike Smith
Detroit Jewish News Foundation Archivist

This is one of my favorite times of the year at the JN. It’s time for the 33rd Annual Chanukah Art Contest! OK, OK. I’ll admit there are a few artists, like that Rembrandt guy or Picasso or Dali, who have produced a few pieces of world-renowned art worth millions of dollars that might be nice to look at, but, for my money, I’ll take the work of the young artists who submit their creations each year for the Chanukah Art Contest. It is — to use a strictly academic term — the coolest! We at the JN really love this annual event. What other publication, I ask you, has such a great — and colorful — feature?

I asked myself, when did the contest begin? Of course, I found the answer in the Davidson Digital Archive —in the Dec. 6, 1985, issue of the JN. That year, there were 207 entries from students from various Jewish schools, including pen-and-ink drawings, penciled works, paper collages and, of course, many works in crayon and paint. The winners were posted in the JN on Dec. 6, and United Hebrew Schools subsequently mounted an exhibit of all the entries. The grand prize winner in 1985 was Jacob Kaufman, age 10, from Hillel Day School (now 43 years old?), whose entry was based on the theme: “Judah Maccabee Liberating the Temple.” It was featured on the front page of the Dec 6 issue. We are featuring it once again today on this page.

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I am happy to report that the contest is still extremely popular among the budding artists in our community, who work hard to impress the judges. This year, there were 225 entries. And, the JN will share all the artwork with the Bais Chabad Torah Center of West Bloomfield for its annual Chanukah Wonderland event at Orchard Mall throughout the holiday.

So, kids — keep the art coming! This has been a vintage year. We look forward to next year’s contest.

Happy Chanukah!

See this year’s winners

Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.

Mike Smith

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