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2019 Keren Or Contest winners with David Siegel and David Harris.

15th Keren Or Contest
Annual Contest Awards Ceremony
Sabes JCC
2021 Keren Or Awards Ceremony

Overcoming the challenges of the past year, the 2021 Keren Or creative arts contest has continued uninterrupted for seventeen years. Nearly 200 teens have won awards since its inception. This past year 53 teens submitted 131 poems, photographs, and pieces of creative prose to Keren Or. The participants represented sixteen schools throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area and beyond. Also represented were thirteen Twin Cities synagogues (Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox) as well as unaffiliated families. This year’s contest judges were Judy Brier, Heidi Schneider, and Robert Wolk for written work; and Robyn Awend, Ann Ginsburgh Hofkin, and Maury Landsman for photography.


2019 Keren Or Awards Ceremony

Keren Or (Ray of Light) is a creative arts contest for Minnesota’s Jewish teens. The contest, now in its fifteenth year, was founded in 2004 by Gerald and Eileen Siegel (z’’l) to honor the memory of their daughter, Karen Siegel-Jacobs, who died in 2001 at the age of 40. Its goal is to showcase and encourage the artistic talents of Jewish youth in grades seven through twelve. The contest is managed by Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council and has become a much-anticipated community celebration of artistic achievement. This past year 73 teens—a record number—participated, submitting 191 poems, photographs, and pieces of creative prose to Keren Or. The participants represented eighteen schools throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area and beyond. Also represented were twelve Twin Cities synagogues (Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Orthodox) as well as unaffiliated families.

The contest judges for 2019 were Judy Brier, Heidi Schneider, and Robert Wolk for written work; and Robyn Awend, Ann Ginsburgh Hofkin, and Maury Landsman for photography. Cash prizes were awarded in the categories of prose, poetry, and photography for students in grades 7-9 and grades 10-12. First-place winners received $100. Second- and third-place winners received $50. Honorable Mention recipients were awarded $36.

Siegel-Jacobs (z’’l) grew up in Minneapolis, attended the Minneapolis Talmud Torah, and was an active member of Adath Jeshurun Congregation and USY. As a teenager she wrote poems and short stories.

For information about the contest, the students, and winning entries from this year and previous years, visit www.kerenorcontest.org.

Rimon is an initiative of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.


2018 Keren Or Awards Ceremony

In 2018, 61 teens participated, submitting a record number of 191 poems, photographs, and pieces of creative prose to Keren Or. The participants represented fifteen schools throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area and beyond. Also represented were thirteen Twin Cities synagogues (Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Orthodox) as well as unaffiliated families.

Cash prizes were awarded in the categories of prose, poetry, and photography for students in grades 7-9 and grades 10-12. First-place winners received $100. Second- and third-place winners received $50.

The contest judges were Judy Brier, Heidi Schneider, and Robert Wolk for written work; and Robyn Awend, David Sherman, and Linda Passon-McNally for photography.


2017 Keren Or Awards Ceremony

Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council and David Siegel hosted the 13th annual Keren Or contest awards ceremony at the Sabes JCC in Minneapolis.

Sixty participants from thirteen schools and thirteen synagogues (as well as teens from unaffiliated homes) submitted a record number of 182 poems, photographs, and pieces of creative prose. Contest winners received cash prizes, and their winning pieces were featured in a special newspaper supplement sponsored by the American Jewish World and Lerner Publishing. The winning photographs were also exhibited at the Sabes JCC during April and May.

Contest judges were Noah Mass, Heidi Schneider, and Robert Wolk for written work, and Ann Ginsburgh Hofkin, Linda Passon-McNally, and Robyn Awend for photography.


2016 Keren Or Awards Ceremony

Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council and Keren Or co-founder Eileen Siegel (z’’l) hosted the Keren Or Twelfth Annual Contest Awards Ceremony at the Sabes JCC in Minneapolis, MN.

A record number of 68 participants from 20 schools and 11 synagogues submitted 176 pieces of writing or photos. The teens’ educational backgrounds have never been more diverse, including home-schooling, public and private schools.  Contest winners received cash prizes, and their winning pieces were featured in a special full-color supplement sponsored by the American Jewish World and by Harry and Sandy Lerner.

Contest judges were Judy Brier, Heidi Schneider, and Robert Wolk for written work, and Ann Ginsburgh Hofkin, Maury Landsman, and Debra Fisher Goldstein for photography.