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This competition, now in its sixth year, invites high school students across the Metropolitan Detroit area to submit an essay or poetry on any Jewish-related topic.

The Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies at Wayne State University announced that Batsheva Ishakis (from Bais Yaakov) Ariella Leib (Farber Hebrew Day School), Emily Abrams (Walled Lake Northern High School) and Adam Arnold (North Farmington High School) are the winners of its Annual High School Jewish Writing Competition.

This competition, now in its sixth year, invites high school students across the Metropolitan Detroit area to submit an essay or poetry on any Jewish-related topic. The goal of this competition, center Director Howard Lupovitch explained at a recent awards ceremony held on campus, is “to encourage burgeoning young Jewish intellectuals to think and write not only reflectively but critically — an especially important skill at a time when 140 characters passes for complete thought.”

For the sixth straight year, the center received many strong entries, from which it chose the four winners. Ishakis’ entry, titled “Pride,” describes the will and power we have within to stand up for who we are and our beliefs.

Leib’s entry titled, “There Will Always Be People,” outlines the reality of the human experience (differences in political and religious beliefs and lives) and that rather than fight each other, we should follow our own path and respect each other.

Left to right: Adam Arnold, Emily Abrams, Ariella Leib and Batsheva Ishakis.
Left to right: Adam Arnold, Emily Abrams, Ariella Leib and Batsheva Ishakis.

Abrams’ entry, titled “Faith and Pride-Lost and Found,” describes how the darkest moments of her life — the antisemitism by her middle school peers that led her away from Judaism and Jewish life — led her to the B’nai B’rith Girls and a stronger connection with her Jewish identity and community.

Arnold’s entry, titled “The Epiphany of the 21st Century Jew,” describes how struggles in practicing Judaism on a virtual platform due to COVID-19 gave him the opportunity to grow stronger in his personal and religious life and led to opportunities to meet other Jews from around the world.

Ishakis and Abrams will receive a cash prize of $500 for first place, and Leib and Arnold will receive $100 as the Honorable Mentions. Their entries are available online at the center’s website: judaicstudies.wayne.edu/2021-winners.

The announcement for the seventh annual competition will appear this fall. 

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