The HLDP Annual Student Award Ceremony Program 2012
Holy Land Democracy Project Advisory Council Julie I. Bram Stanley Kandel Alex Miller Eric J. Diamond Leslie Kessler Marla Rosen Irwin S. Field Sharon L. Krischer Faith Schames Dalia Franco Arlene Kupietzky Moshe Shmuel Abner D. Goldstine Dr. Daniel Lieber Terri Smooke Dennis A. Gura Linda Mayman Lisa Ullmann The Jewish Federation’s Community Engagement Committee Daniel T. Gryczman Loryn D. Arkow Chair Vice Chair Merrill B. Alpert Allan B. Cutrow Noah Streit Joli B. Altshule Jesse Gabriel Sam Yebri Marc Carrel Dave Rand THE NINTH ANNUAL The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles Richard V. Sandler Leslie E. Bider Sharon L. Janks S. Alan Rosen STUDENT AWARDS CEREMONYChairman of the Board Jonathan Cookler General Campaign Chair Valley Alliance Chair Vice Chairs Jay Sanderson Andrew Cushnir Catherine Schneider President & CEO Executive Vice President Senior Vice President Chief Program Officer Community Engagement Daniel Gold Rabbi Hal Greenwald Aliya Slepkov June 3, 2012 Director of Israel Education and Advocacy Assistant Director Holy Land Democracy Project Executive Secretary Community Engagement PROGRAM www.JewishLA.org Additional exhibit photography generously provided by Pini Dror Photography.The Holy Land Democracy Project is an initiative of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles in partnershipwith the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Diocese of Orange, the Diocese of Fresno, the Diocese ofSan Bernadino, Granada Hills Charter High School, the LA Alliance for College Ready Public Schools, TheLighthouse Christian Academy, Oaks Christian School, and Pacifica Christian High School.
HOLY LAND DEMOCRACY PROJECT 2012 CREATIVE CONTEST WINNERS In Memory POETRY CONTEST WINNERS FIRST PRIZE Madeline Ponzio, Rosary High School (Maureen Tunstill) JIM NIELSEN SECOND PRIZE Joy Hinshilwood, Bishop Montgomery High School (Bernadette St. James) “He has showed you, O man, what is good. THIRD PRIZE And what does the LORD require of you? Leah Munoz, Bishop Montgomery High School (Bernadette St. James) To act justly and to love mercy and HONORABLE MENTION Chelsea Augustine, Pacifica Christian High School (Scott Comer); Andrea Centeno, St. Monica Catholic High School (Siobhan ONeill); to walk humbly with your God.” Jairon Marroquin, St. Genevieve High School (Roxanne Brush); Taylor Mercado, Bishop Montgomery High School (John Fitzsimons); Emily Miller, St. Monica Catholic High School (Siobhan ONeill); Preston O’Connell, St. Monica Catholic High School (Siobhan ONeill); Mikah 6:8 Ross Porter, Mater Dei High School (Carol Koppenheffer); Roxana Reyes, Bishop Conaty High School (Lisa Gabriel) W ESSAY CONTEST WINNERS e all lost a friend and teacher with Jim Nielsen’s FIRST PRIZE passing this year. We mourn this loss deeply and miss Gabrielle Greenstein, Louisville High School (Mary Wilson) him greatly. SECOND PRIZE Adam Bistagne, Loyola High School (Tika Lee) THIRD PRIZE Jim was a man who personified the passage from Mikah. Miranda Reynolds, Bishop Montgomery High School (John Fitzsimons) Those of us at the Jewish Federation first came to know him HONORABLE MENTION in 2009, when he interviewed for the Holy Land DemocracyMackenzie Boyd, Villanova Preparatory School (Brian Grisin); Christine Hanna, Bishop Montgomery High School (John Fitzsimons); Amanda Marcarelli, Oaks Christian School (Aaron Marcarelli); Rachel McCormick, Oaks Christian School (Aaron Marcarelli); Project. Our traditions teach us that one cannot hope to Nicole Morin, Mater Dei High School (Carol Koppenheffer); Steven Perez, Damien High School (Douglas Hoffman); approach God absent a humble heart. Jim came to us, as I suspect he came to most Nicole Platania, Louisville High School (Mary Wilson); Maxwell Vega, Oaks Christian School (Aaron Marcarelli) everyone, with a deeply touching and instructive humility. I recall him thanking us sincerely simply for reading his application. Those who traveled to Israel with him ART CONTEST WINNERS FIRST PRIZE saw his extraordinary appreciation for every single moment in the Land. Emily Montalvo, Rosary High School (Maureen Tunstill) SECOND PRIZE He told us that the journey through Israel truly transformed him. We believe that Emily Mendoza, Mater Dei High School (Carol Koppenheffer) for students and adults alike, interactions with Jim transformed all who tarried just THIRD PRIZE long enough to understand his goodness. After his return from Israel, we remained Serena Stumpf, Louisville High School (Mary Wilson) connected to Jim through the multiple emails and phone calls he placed to me each HONORABLE MENTION Yasmin Aubry, Bishop Montgomery High School (Bernadette St. James); year, all carrying the simple message: “Hal, please tell The Jewish Federation how Kiara Barrett, Bishop Montgomery High School (Bernadette St. James); thankful I am for Israel.” Maryann Corea, St. Monica Catholic High School (Siobhan ONeill); Gladi Han, St. Joseph High School (Allison Ek); Dianna Kim, Bishop Montgomery High School (Bernadette St. James); Taryn Provinchain, Junipero Serra High School (Anunciacion Anderson); Katie Swinnerton, Rosary High School (Maureen Tunstill); Ali Toia, St. Monica Catholic High School (Siobhan ONeill) Today, please share memories of Jim that you have. Most of all, let us live lives deeply informed by his example. Let us reach out to the living, act justly, love mercy, MULTIMEDIA CONTEST WINNERS and walk humbly with our God. FIRST PRIZE Shari Coleman, Granada Hills Charter High School (Annet Kohen) Zichrono L’veracha – may the memory of James Nielsen be a blessing for his SECOND PRIZE Reilly Cox, Mater Dei High School (Colleen Hall) wonderful family, his Santa Margarita students, his church community and us all. THIRD PRIZE Melia Gonzalez, Rosary High School (Maureen Tunstill and Lisa Nollette) –Rabbi Hal Greenwald HONORABLE MENTION AJ Absy, St. Francis High School (Mark Fredette)2 35
William Klein Marymount High School Annet Kohen Granada Hills Charter High School Carol Koppenheffer Mater Dei High School THE JEWISH FEDERATION’S Ron Korb Granada Hills Charter High School Howard Lappin Principal, Environmental Science and Technology High School HOLY LAND DEMOCRACY PROJECT Maggie Lauder Servite High School NINTH ANNUAL AWARDS CEREMONY Claude LeBlanc Don Bosco Technical Institute Tika Lee Loyola High School June 3, 2012 Cindy Lee-Moon Notre Dame High School Michael Letton Stern Math & Science High School PROGRAM PRESENTER Maureen Linehan Ramona Convent Secondary School Michel Madruga Cindy and Bill Simon Technology Academy High School WELCOME Sister Angela Hallahan Cynthia Madsen St. Joseph High School Aaron Marcarelli Oaks Christian School Secondary School Religion Coordinator Dean Marolla College-Ready Academy High School #5 Archdiocese of Los Angeles Mary Marsella Garces Memorial High School Chalio Medrano Huntington Park College-Ready Academy High School “IMAGE”-INING ISRAEL ! Through the Looking Glass of Israel – 5 Ways Sonya Mercado St. Bonaventure High School Conan Moats Heritage College-Ready Academy High School REMARKS FROM Catherine Schneider Kathy Morgan St. Monica Catholic High School THE JEWISH FEDERATION Senior Vice President for Community Engagement Rita Morgan St. Monica Catholic High School The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles Denis Munoz St. Bernard Catholic High School Allicen Naal Pomona Catholic High School THE HOLY LAND Dr. Daniel Lieber Fatima Nicdao St. Monica Catholic High School James Nielsen Santa Margarita Catholic High School DEMOCRACY PROJECT Chair Lisa Nollette Rosary High School The Holy Land Democracy Project Ray Nolte Damien High School Marc Nuno St. Monica Catholic High School POETRY PRIZE PRESENTATIONS Nate Nylander Oaks Christian School Teacher Commendation Maureen Tunstill, Rosary Siobhan ONeill St. Monica Catholic High School Kristina Ortega Chaminade College Preparatory Student Award Madeline Ponzio Robert Pambello Heritage College-Ready Academy High School Jason Parrot St. Bernard Catholic High School ESSAY PRIZE PRESENTATIONS Kumar Parthepan Gertz-Ressler High School Teacher Commendation Mary Wilson, Louisville Jeanette Pascua Notre Dame High School Student Award Gabrielle Greenstein Gary Pate Oaks Christian School Monique Pena Environmental Science and Technology High School ART PRIZE PRESENTATIONS William Perales Mary Star of the Sea Teacher Commendation Maureen Tunstill, Rosary Elisa Perez Ramona Convent Secondary School Linda Petrich St. Joseph High School Student Award Emily Montalvo Michelle Purghart Holy Family High School College Preparatory Tomas Renna Bishop Montgomery High School MUTIMEDIA PRIZE PRESENTATIONS April Risteff Chaminade College Preparatory Teacher Commendation Annet Kohen, Granada Hills Alma Rivas San Gabriel Mission High School Roberto Rivas Huntington Park College-Ready Academy High School Student Award Shari Coleman Susan Rizo Garces Memorial High School Vanessa Sandoval College-Ready Academy High School #5 CAPERNAUM TO THE CLASSROOM… Scott Comer David Savage Notre Dame High School AND BACK TO CAPERNAUM: Pacifica Christian Stephen Schumacher Santa Margarita Catholic High School Michael Sifter Alverno High School A TEACHER’S PERSPECTIVE Tom Silva Pacifica Christian High School Craig Smith Santa Margarita High School L’hitraot! Bernadette St. James Bishop Montgomery High School Joe Swoboda Servite High School Maureen Tunstill Rosary High School Steve Viau Mater Dei High School Melea Walden Jserra Catholic High School Chris Weir Servite High School Steve Wickson St. Monica Catholic High School Josh Wilson Louisville High School Mary Wilson Louisville High School Robin Winkler Granada Hills Charter High School Theresa Yugar Sacred Heart High School Dennis Yumul St Genevieve High School Lisa Zabaglo Chaminade College Prep High School34 3
We humbly thank all of the inspiring educators and outstanding schools who have partnered with us in building bridges between our communities and sharing the miracle of Israel with over 27,000 students in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino, Fresno and Bakersfield. Meredith Adams Health Services Academy High School Hilary Aguirre-Yribarren Cathedral High School Janice Allen Oaks Christian High School Anunciacion Anderson Junipero Serra High School Victoria Anderson Norte Vista High School Maria Andrade-Johnson Santa Margarita Catholic High School Victor Arenas Bishop Amat Memorial High School Randy Aust Santa Margarita Catholic High School Carla Bacon Granada Hills Charter High School Justin Bailey Pacifica Christian High School Joe Banfield St. Anthony High School Maggie Bove-LaMonica Verbum Dei High School Kelly Brooks Alliance College-Ready Academy #5 Roxanne Brush St. Genevieve High School Judy Burton Alliance College-Ready Public Schools Michelle Butorac St. Matthias High School Poetry Eric Cadena Chaminade College Preparatory Cindy Campbell San Joaquin Memorial High School Jennifer Campbell St. Anthony High School Raul Carranza College-Ready Academy High School #7 Karen Chambers Verbum Dei High School Edward Clark Damien High School John Collins Pomona Catholic High School Scott Comer Pacifica Christian High School Kat Cook Bishop Amat Memorial High School Nancy Coonis Notre Dame Academy Ginny Cronomiz St. Joseph High School Peter Czer Lighthouse School Vera De Artola Notre Dame High School Kathleen DeSantis San Joaquin Memorial High School Roger DeSilva Notre Dame High School Jeffrey Dewey Oaks Christian High School Karina Diaz Marc and Eva Stern Math and Science School Jeanine DiCesaris-Kraybill Pomona Catholic High School Allison Ek St Joseph High School Stephen Felkner Junipero Serra High School John Fitzsimons Bishop Montgomery High School Mark Fredette St. Francis High School Lisa Gabriel Bishop Conaty-Our Lady of Loretto High School Shannon Gavin Rosary High School Blair Gillam Oaks Christian High School Marcos Gonzalez San Gabriel Mission HS Margaret Govero St. Bernard Catholic High School Brian Grisin Villanova Preparatory School April Gutierrez Sacred Heart High School Stephen Hagberg Oaks Christian High School Colleen Hall Mater Dei High School Holly Haynes Mater Dei High School Kevin Hernandez Huntington Park College-Ready Academy High School Monique Hernandez Alliance College-Ready Academy #7 Rodolfo Hernandez Bishop Amat Memorial High School Michael Herrera St. Bonaventure High School Douglas Hoffman Damien High School Stephanie Hofmann Gertz-Ressler High School Christopher James Leuzinger High School Shane Johnson Villanova Preparatory School Mary Killmond Bishop Alemany High School Joe Kim Holy Family High School College Prep4 33
The Jewish Federation’s Holy Land Democracy First Prize Poetry Project educates non-Jewish high school Madeline Ponzio, Rosary High School students throughout Los Angeles about Ms. Tunstill, Instructor modern Israel by sending their teachers there. The result is a cadre of educators at Catholic, Protestant and Charter high schools While crystal clear waves lap at who have shared powerful, first-hand experiences with more than 27,000 The sandy shore diverse students. Educators study the history and diversity of the Jewish A beach full of faces, people, the democracy of Israel, as well as the challenges and complexities The faces of Israel, Gaze at the land of their fathers. of Arab/Israeli relations. The program includes teacher training, a curriculum called The Many Faces of Israel, and a contest showcasing students’ essays, Their land is scarred poetry and art depicting what they learned about the only democracy in From battles, from bombs, from blood. Craters carve a painful pattern in the earth the Middle East. The resulting understanding of Israel creates a new Powdered ash, the dust of a dangerous snow perspective on Jewish life around the world. Since the program’s Blankets the land of their fathers inception in 2004, more than 50 schools have participated and more than But the waves behind them, 100 educators have made this perspective-changing journey and returned Waves of the future, to share their experience with their students. Wash over the land, and clean away The pain, the dirt, the debris From the land of their fathers. Tikkun olam, a Hebrew expression which means “repair the world,” is a historic and core Jewish The water washes the scars away, but value – and why reaching out to address the needs Memories remain, as bright burning stars In the eyes of the many faces of Israel. of the entire community is one of the goals of Faces look forward, but eyes turn back The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Some forgiving, none forgetting Based on Jewish values, The Jewish Federation of What it took to turn the land of their fathers, Into their own land. Greater Los Angeles convenes and leads the community and leverages its resources to assure the continuity of the Jewish people, support a secure State of Israel, care for Jews in need here and abroad, and mobilize on issues of concern to the local community, all with our local, national, and international partners.32 5
Second Prize Poetry First Prize Multi-Media Joy Hinshilwood, Bishop Montgomery High School Shari Coleman, Granada Hills Charter High School Ms. St. James, Instructor Ms. Kohen, Instructor He was young and bold A budding entity She loved him She sheltered him He grew older and more daring Second Prize Multi-Media He fought and won She loved him Reilly Cox, Mater Dei High School She carried him on her shoulders Ms. Hall, Instructor He left and roamed the world Missing her She loved him She waited He grew older With much pain and suffering She felt him Third Prize Multi-Media She crumbled Melia Gonzalez, Rosary High School He returned Searching for home Ms. Tunstill and Ms. Nollette, Instructors She rejoiced Though only a wall stood He is stronger Protecting that which he loves She loves She stands as a testament Two lovers Torn apart and reunited Made for each other Perfect despite the imperfections Jerusalem and her people.6 31
Third Prize Art Third Prize Poetry Serena Stumpf, Louisville High School Leah Munoz, Bishop Montgomery High School Ms. Wilson, Instructor Ms. St. James, Instructor A flower grows by a chain link fence Small, but easily spotted Threatened by the surrounding weeds A long struggle Strong in a barren land The courage to grow and stand tall To be different In the best way possible Centuries old But still modern and new An everyday sight M y watercolor painting answers the first question of religious observance in Israel. In the foreground there is a Jewish family together because on the Sabbath families often spend time with each other. They have candles, since they But something much more extraordinary cannot use electricity on the Lord’s day of rest, and there is a “closed” sign in their shop as all businesses are closed for this one day of rest. The bread on the table is Challah, which is customarily eaten on the Sabbath. Through this family’s window, the old city of Jerusalem can be seen in the distance. The people in the background are blurred to show the mixture of the many different religions. They are mostly Jewish, as they are worshipping at the Wailing Wall, but there are also Muslims on their way to the the Dome of the Rock. If you were to walk around that city, these are some of the traditional customs you would see people practicing on the Sabbath.30 7
Honorable Mention Poetry Second Prize Art Chelsea Augustine, Pacifica Christian High School Emily Mendoza, Mater Dei High School Mr. Comer, Instructor Ms. Koppenheffer, Instructor Standing in a busy street in Tel Aviv I hear the gasp Of a little girl as she looks up And admires the female IDF unit as they walk by. I see the sparkle in her eyes W hy is there a need for a Jewish homeland? Without a homeland, they As she hopes to be one of them. She hopes to fight for And honor her people. would have no place to go. Everyone deserves a place This little girl does not have the heart to choose to call HOME. I drew the Who flag to resemble unity She fights for: between all Jews, to resem- She would fight for the beautiful big-eyed Ethiopian For the old, orthodox Jew who is excited as he shares his discoveries. ble their pride and spirit. I This little girl has the heart to save them all decided to put barbed wire Because to her, their heart beats for the same thing. on the side of the flag to re- For the love of Hashem and Haaretz. member the hardship that they went through during She knows ha’artez is worth fighting for. the Holocaust. After the From Hashem saving them from the oppression By the Egyptians Holocaust, they had To the Shoah and the Nazis. nowhere to go. For their Because for her, she will never forget sacrifices and hardship, And it will never happen again. Israel was created to give them a place to call home. I I have learned from all of these people How close also drew two people hold- Of a family ing hands to resemble unity in their hard times in the Holocaust, to represent that Israel is. they were in it all together. The necklace stands for their beliefs in God. God has And hopefully this little girl will not have to fight like been and will be with them forever. They are God’s people and Israel is their Holy David against Goliath land, also known as their HOME. The city and the building are included to resemble To keep this family together their places of worship and also their everyday lives. I included the prayer wall where all of the Jews come to pray. I placed a sun and a moon because they should have a home that they can permanently stay in for the rest of their lives, night and day. These people have gone through so much – and all for a simple place to call HOME.8 29
First Prize Art Honorable Mention Poetry Emily Montalvo, Rosary High School Andrea Centeno, St. Monica Catholic High School Ms. Tunstill, Instructor Ms. O’Neill, Instructor Suffering, persecution and discrimination, Now these problems would seem distant from this current open-minded nation. Separation, sadness and despair, No one felt like it was fair. They wanted a place where they could be free, A place significantly close to the Sea of Galilee. No one to tell them how to act or what to say, No one to tell them what to believe in or what to pray. This place, would be for all Jews to bond together big and small, Acting justly and selflessly so that freedom would reign over all. A homeland that would be more than just a place to go, It would be a place where everyone was welcomed, not one of them a foe. People of different faiths, of different lifestyles, and more F or centuries the Jewish people have suffered and been persecuted, even in their own land. Here in these letters is a brief history of the challenges that Israel has faced in its struggle for a land free of persecution and peace with its Were welcomed into Israel to expand their lives and explore. Israel gave the people the opportunity to express themselves and freely roam, But most of all it gave them a place to bond, a place to call home. Arab neighbors. S: The ancient history of Israel and its beginning, from the twelve tribes of Israel and the Exodus from Egypt. H: Shows the persecution of the Jewish people in ancient and modern times: the destruction of the Temple of Solomon, the Diaspora and search for a homeland, the occupation of the Arabs in Israel, the Holocaust and the genocide of millions of Jewish people, the persecution of Jews in Ethiopia, and the current destruction caused by bombs. A: Depicts the surrounding countries that have oppressed the Jewish people for thousands of years. It also has pictures of the Israeli army, in which the Israeli people, from a young age, offer their lives in order to protect their land. L: Shows when Israel becomes an independent nation, the first step to finding a land all their own. An excerpt from the Israeli Declaration of Independence surrounds the Israeli emblem. O: Displays the numerous peace talks that Israel and its neighbors have attended. These peace talks occur because all the Israeli people want is peace. Lines from the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty surround the O. M: Shows the future of Israel: a nation free of persecution; a place where the Jewish people can live in harmony with their Arab neighbors. The background for the letters is a section of the Western Wall, the only remnants of the Temple. It shows the deep history that the Jewish people have in the land of Israel.28 9
Honorable Mention Poetry Jairon Marroquin, St. Genevieve High School Ms. Brush, Instructor Israel is considered to be “the Holy Land,” A place that has peace and war at hand A country that had to make difficult decisions, And people who believe in different religions. But it doesn’t matter because it’s what they believe. A country so beautiful you don’t want to leave. Art Whatever religion, they’re at their God’s mercy. Living in a country the size of New Jersey. A place where Jews can live as brothers. And men could love their sacred mothers. A country whose government is democratic, They study many subjects and are really good at it. And people come from everywhere, To learn the history that has been there. They have fought with the people next door, But they all just want to end this war. They’ve been to Hollywood and to the moon, Israel’s a place you want to visit soon. But people want to know what is real We all just want to go to Israel.10 27
Honorable Mention Essay Honorable Mention Poetry Maxwell Vega, Oaks Christian School Taylor Mercado, Bishop Montgomery High School Mr. Marcarelli, Instructor Mr. Fitzsimons, Instructor Excerpt S ince Israel declared independence in 1948, it has faced continuous threats to its security and peace … __Oh Mother__ The kidnapping and killing of members of the Israeli Olympic team in the 1972 A mother cries Munich Olympics further hindered attempts at peace. A year later, in 1973, Egyptians As she watches her children fight, and Syrians attacked Israel on Yom Kippur, resulting in what is known as the Brother beating sister, and babies yelling. Yom Kippur War. The Israeli forces successfully deterred the aggressors, leading to a ceasefire. After Anwar Sadat of Egypt visited Israel and spoke with the A mother lies sick from crying so long So long and so long, only longing for peace. Knesset, Jimmy Carter of the United States called both Sadat and Menachem Begin to meet at Camp David to discuss peace. The subsequent 1979 Camp David She endures her child’s pain… Accords resulted in a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. In 1981, Sadat Anger… was assassinated for his part in the Accords. Tears… Fear… Hopelessness… Misery… And like a good mother, She hides it She cries, and hides her tears and illness She cries, and hides her smile and hope And like a good mother, She embraces it Happiness… Hopefulness… Bravery… Smile… Peace… She embraces her child’s pleasure… A mother sits healthy and smiles on, On and on, as she sees peace. A mother smiles As she watches her children, all of her children, Stand side by side, hand in hand, peacefully, in her, on Land.26 11
Honorable Mention Poetry Honorable Mention Essay Steven Perez, Damien High School Emily Miller, St. Monica Catholic High School Mr. Hoffman, Instructor Ms. O’Neill, Instructor Excerpt B eing in a Catholic school, exposed to religion, it is not enough just to learn about Catholicism. We call ourselves “Catholic” because it means universal. In this world, it is important to have a universal mindset in relating with people. Look through these eyes of mine And see similar things sometimes We are not so different, you and me Up until now, all I knew about Israel was that it was made by the United Nations Look through these eyes of mine and you will see as a Jewish homeland in the 1940s, that it was constantly under attack by other Middle East nations, and that it had to have a strong military. What I didn’t realize I am young and free, just like you was the expanse of Muslim nations around Israel. It is such a tiny part of the Doing many of the things you do Middle East that I asked “Why is so much being lost over something so small?” Going to school and having fun I was interested in learning about the Israeli Declaration of Independence. I was Staying out later than the sun surprised to see how similar it was to our Declaration of Independence in purpose I see the world in a similar way and manner. I was glad to see that although Israel is militarily strong for its size, Mine having a few differences day by day it understands the meaning of peace…. It is not a war-torn nation, just a nation Mainly lying in my country’s fear that is defending itself and its way of life. A fear we feel no one can hear I felt for the children of Israel in the film. They really weren’t too different from One day I hope to also live in a peaceful place me. They had similar tastes in leisure and future plans, and they went through Where I walk like you with a smile on my face the same issues that I face. The only difference is that if their military loses they I hope one day you see joy in my home’s heart lose their life; but that doesn’t seem to bother them. They live in constant danger, A joy we wish we had from the start but they do not let it stop them from living.12 25
Honorable Mention Essay Honorable Mention Poetry Nicole Morin, Mater Dei High School Preston O’Connell, St. Monica Catholic High School Ms. Koppenheffer, Instructor Ms. O’Neill, Instructor Excerpt On any given day in the holy land I srael was the Promised Land for the Jewish people … You might come upon something pretty grand Different cultures different races Different beliefs, even covered faces So many different religions all come together here … But in the year 135, the Romans exiled Jews from Israel after they lost a three-year war fought between them. After they lost control of their home, they had no place Listen up because p money never delivers whack. to practice their religion freely or embrace their Jewish culture. Without a home, Let’s start with the Jewish because God gave them the land the Jewish people were forced to live in towns where people hated them and They make up most of the population and keep the synagogues manned Jews study Torah because it’s their holy book blamed them for all of the problems in the world … People burned books and They also got a lot of really cool food they like to cook synagogues, destroyed Torahs … All of this happened because they didn’t have a Bagels, Cheeses, even Kosher Fish place to flee to … When you’re eating Jewish food it’s always gonna be a scrumptious dish And finally to the attire It is unfathomable how anything as terrible as the Holocaust could have transpired, They dress like you and me except some people wear a kippah which makes them look but if they had a place to go, a home …. If they just had a home …. Way flyer Now on the Druze But the Jewish people now have a place where they can embrace their religion and Although they live together they’re pretty different from the Jews be themselves. They have a place where one-third of the world’s population of The religion was founded in 1009 In Cairo on land that in my opinion was pretty sublime Jews lives freely. They have Israel … No matter what happens in the future, Israel The Druze are farmers so the diet consists of a lot of fruit off trees is and always will be the home of the Jewish people. But they bake their own bread and even eat some cheese So all in all the Druze are pretty chill Moving on to the next religion I’m about to do it for the Israeli bonds and the skrill Capping off the religions in Israel are the Muslims, you wouldn’t think to find them here But listen up open your eyes and ears Because here are some facts and stats About the Muslims who are some pretty cool cats In Islam there are some articles of faith six to be exact Muslims follow these laws and that’s a fact …. All in all Israel is a pretty cool place Everyone stays pretty based Through the struggles and the pain The Israeli people find a way to gain Freedom and happiness Instead of DJ Khaled, the people of Israel of Israel should be yelling … WE THE BEST.24 13
Honorable Mention Poetry Honorable Mention Essay Rachel McCormick, Oaks Christian School Ross Porter, Mater Dei High School Mr. Marcarelli, Instructor Ms. Koppenheffer, Instructor Excerpt A long time ago, Back in the day Jews were enslaved and killed I n 1896 Theodore Herzl organized the Zionist movement, seeing a need for a Jewish homeland to prevent persecution and genocide. He observed the outrageous Dreyfus Affair and trial of Alfred Dreyfus, falsely accused of passing And it was ok. information to the Germans … Under the Russian government, Jews were also Thousands of years later persecuted and forced out of their homes. As a strong and hard-working group, Jews were still persecuted and hated many governments see Jews as a threat, as did Pharoah in Egypt during the By Nazis and Hitler time of Moses. Later, the ultimate persecution would occur under Hitler and Concentration camps were created the Nazi party … Even in Israel, To this very day Many aspects of the Jewish religion tie the people to the land. The holy land of Jews get threats from terrorists Israel gives the Jewish people a place to worship their God and be unified… And are not safe where they stay Through the ideals of Zionism and the promises of the Bible, Israel has become a Everyone is scared refuge for its people, who have fought for its independence. The State of Israel The government, too ensures that they will be treated justly and given rights and liberties as people … How would you feel If everyday hateful people threaten you? The people try to make peace But terrorists don’t care And they are the reasons There are bomb shelters everywhere I wish that the Jewish religion was given a break It seems that they are the target of hate I hope that one day people understand That this world would be so much better Hand in hand Maybe one day those hateful people will realize That Jews and everyone are equal in God’s eyes But in the meantime Maybe those countries can figure it out And make good decisions and choose the right route.14 23
Honorable Mention Essay Honorable Mention Poetry Amanda Marcarelli, Oaks Christian School Roxana Reyes, Bishop Conaty – Our Lady of Loretto High School Mr. Marcarelli, Instructor Ms. Gabriel, Instructor Excerpt U nfailing Faith is an emotionally touching drama about a man, Eli Weinstock, who escapes the death camp, Treblinka, and goes to Israel, where he hopes to find peace and meets a young woman, Naomi Lowenstein, who is dealing I am Israel with problems of her own… I am the young girl who stands above the Promised Land I see and feel within me the struggles and hardships of those who came before me Eli Weinstock lived with his German-speaking grandparents, who lived in the Fear for my future Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia. Friends of the Weinstock family were the only Fear of what might happen in the midst of protecting my nation ones that knew they were Jewish, while everyone else thought they were With that fear, comes hope Germans … When Hitler was elected, in 1932, Eli and his family believed Hitler Hope of making a successful human being out of myself would help the Germans of other countries, such as Czechoslovakia. However, Hope of representing well those who came before me when his Jewish friends were starting to be taken away, Eli knew something was Hope of being a brighter Israel up … Eli and his grandparents were taken to Treblinka in 1942 at age 17. With hope, come expectations Expectations of what my life after high school will be In January of 1937, Naomi (age 13), Esther at age 7, and their parents were in Expectations of how everyone will look up to me their home just outside of Jerusalem, when Arab men raided their house, and Young ones and the elder will see Israel in my eyes Naomi saw her parents killed before her eyes before she and Esther were able to With expectations, come values get away. Values that will help me understand the struggles and hardships ones had before me Values that will come with hope of a great nation, and unity among neighbors Eli’s grandparents were killed almost straight away at Treblinka because they For we have been taught to love one another were old and could not work well. In March of 1945, however, Eli and another I am hope for this country Jew, David, were able to escape the cap without being seen and headed west… I am the youth who had left fear behind Their goal was to get to Israel, the land of their Fathers … I am she, who takes as a task to protect those around me I am the one whose expectations shall be completed, to make the new When Eli finally made it to Tel Aviv, he fell to his knees with a raging fever and generations free and independent shouted, “I have made it to your homeland. I can go no further.” In great pain from I am the one who must learn the values that it takes to be looked up to the fever, he fell flat on his face, unconscious. He woke up to Naomi pouring water I am the youngest and the oldest on his head. They shared their stories as Naomi nursed Eli back to health. After I am Israel Eli regained his strength … they decided to take a bus to Jerusalem together. They had fallen in love and knew that they were meant for each other … On their way to Jerusalem, in the Jezebel Valley, Arabs invaded the bus convoy and killed many of the people on the bus. Naomi was killed, and Esther was very injured as Eli was able to escape with her. Esther was dying and used her last breaths to say, “Make it to Jerusalem for me. Please.” So Eli decided to go back to Tel Aviv, where he joined up with the Ben Gurion army to help fight in the war for independence.22 15
Honorable Mention Essay Christine Hanna, Bishop Montgomery High School Mr. Fitzsimons, Instructor Excerpt T here are several different types of religious observances in Israel, but the three religions that my essay will address are Islam, Coptic Orthodox Christians and Judaism. Islam revolves around the teachings of Mohammad and the Qur’an, while the Coptic Orthodox Christians are a branch of Christianity. They follow the Bible, along with many other branches of Christianity… I am a practicing Coptic Orthodox Christian. Throughout my life, I have not heard much about Israel or about Jews other than what I have learned from history Essays books. When the Coptic Orthodox Christian Pope Shenouda III banned pilgrimages to Israel, I did not dwell much on the subject. I did not feel as if it had any effect on my life personally because I was not planning on making pilgrimages anytime soon. I remember thinking that Israel must be a terrible place to go to if it was banned, but as I look back now, I realize that was only anti-Semitism rearing its ugly head. Through learning about the Jewish culture these past few weeks, my eyes have been opened to a different perspective on the story I was told. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is owned by many different sects of Christianity, such as Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox and Syrian Orthodox. This church is located in Jerusalem. The fact that the church is found in Israel shows how free Israel is in terms of practicing religions … Not only do Christians have a place in Jerusalem, Muslims do as well. There are many mosques found in Israel. The religious tolerance and political freedom that is offered in Israel is unmatchable. Each religion has a home in Israel …16 21
Honorable Mention Essay First Prize Essay Mackenzie Boyd, Villanova Preparatory School Gabrielle Greenstein, Louisville High School Mr. Grisin, Instructor Ms. Wilson, Instructor Excerpt “The place honors not the man: it is the man who honors the place.” T eenagers in Israel live a very different life compared to people in the United States. They are in constant danger from bordering countries which attack their country… Since it is so tiny, teenagers must enroll in the military after high T hese are the words of a Hebrew proverb, a proverb that I hear every time I doubt my duty. As a child, I was raised to have pride in my small nation. Coming from generations of abuse and prejudice in other lands, my parents school graduation …. taught me and my siblings to be thankful for what we have. Now, as a senior in high school, I am months away from joining the army and assisting in the They take on the challenge with open minds and determined hearts. Men have war, for what we deserve. I have faith in my Israel, faith that we will rise above to be in the military for at least three years, and women for two. If they choose hardship and remain a prosperous land. My people have suffered through to stay in the military after the required service time, they may. Otherwise, the genocide, racism, and cruelty at the hands of unjust rulers, and I refuse to let young men and women can begin a career of their choice. us be dragged down. My generation is not brainwashed, as so many people from other countries like to think. My generation, we are the generation of peace and pride; we have a pride in our Israel that is not easily understood. Another quality of Israeli teenagers is that they love to discuss everything. I like how they can completely disagree with each other and not take it personally. I value the journey my ancestors took, and I will now fight to protect our Here in America, if a teenager disagrees with another it could turn into an ugly reward. But I cannot help facing the facts. Death, injury, pain – they are all too fight. It is very cool how Israeli teenagers are not afraid to speak their mind, common, they happen too often to ignore. I am learning to face my fears by and they don’t get mad if someone proves them wrong or contradicts what reminding myself what I will be doing, what I stand for as a citizen of Israel. When I entered my third year in high school, not a day passed when I did not they’re saying … think of my deployment. Where will I go? What will I be doing? Who will I be with? Will I be alone? As my third year came to an end, I spent the summer contemplating the importance of these questions. After all, I would be finding out everything I needed to know when the time came – but something was looming in the back of my mind, a question that I did not want to ask myself. Am I the only one who is afraid? This is when I realized that I am far from alone. Not only do I have beside me a massive army of young men and women under similar circumstances, but I have a nation full of fiery countrymen. This helped me realize that I am obviously not the only one who is afraid – but I was one of those who hadn’t figured out the value of fear. It is not an obstacle, but the driving force of success. If we were not afraid to lose our land, then why would we be fighting for it? Yes, I am afraid – but I am prepared. “The place honors not the man: it is the man who honors the place.” This will be said when I am doubtful, thought when I am weak, and prayed as I fight.20 17
Second Prize Essay Third Prize Essay Adam Bistagne, Loyola High School Miranda Reynolds, Bishop Montgomery High School Ms. Lee, Instructor Mr. Fitzsimons, Instructor Excerpt Excerpt Dear Diary, Israel faces a multitude of political and security challenges from its location in a disputed territory in the Middle East, surrounded by some neighbors who do not wish to see an Israeli state. I have a little time before dinner is ready, so I’ll write just a little about what’s going on at the moment. Life is pretty good – a little stressful, but mostly good. The first serious political challenge Israel has faced is a lack of official recognition I can’t believe I’m a senior! Time has flown so fast. Classes are kind of hard right by its neighbors as a state. This lack of recognition makes it harder for Israel to now because it’s getting down to the final days. Eleven different subjects add gain international legitimacy and to develop economic ties with the rest of the up to a whole lot of work. There are only two weeks left, but so much to think world because of the potential conflict that could ensue. Since many of the states about. I’m really going to miss all my friends, but not to worry; they’ll be with that don’t recognize Israel, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, have large oil reserves, me in the army! other countries do not want to cause conflict or tension with these states because of the demand for oil. Thus, Israel’s allies are limited in acting to support Oh, the army. Israel, so the nation has to withstand many threats by itself. An example of this stand-alone reality was at the end of 2008, when Israel attacked Hamas for Hmmm…I’m a little scared to go but I am also excited, because I have the chance rockets because of launched into the country. Further, this problem complicates of a lifetime to defend my country. The way I look at it is: “All Jews are responsible international diplomatic efforts. The greatest example of this international for one another.” This gives me courage to enter the army, because it is my duty backlash is the fact that the U.N. has passed more resolutions about Israel than to protect the Israeli people. I figure that joining the army is my time to make a any other country, with many of the resolutions being condemnatory. difference. I wonder what position they’ll put me in when I join. I would love to be a nurse or doctor so I could help people in battle, without actually being While political challenges arise from a lack of recognition, some countries, such there. I could also have the opportunity to work with some amazing doctors and as Egypt and Jordan, do recognize Israel and have maintained open borders nurses who I can learn a lot from. I don’t really want to be in combat because with Israel in recent years. This different attitude arose probably because of their that’s just not my thing. My army obligation is most important to me, and second close geographical proximity; Jordan and Egypt have an economic interest in most important to me is raising a family. recognizing Israel that other countries such as Iran do not have. When I’m out of the army, I hope to go to college and medical school and While Israel does have peace with the local states, it still faces abundant challenges become a doctor. I hear they have a really good medical training program in the to its security. Arab terrorists such as Hamas and Hezbollah threaten Israeli Negev Desert, so I’ll have to check that out. When I’m done with that, I want to citizens on a daily basis with attacks on the country by suicide bombers or rockets get married and have three kids… launched in from neighboring allies of the terrorist groups. Besides these local terrorist threats, Israel also faces challenges from an Iranian state that is attempting One thing I fear going into the army is becoming close to people and seeing them die to acquire nuclear weapons via uranium processing … This Iranian ambition is in combat. I never want to feel the pain of losing someone like that … Sometimes I the largest threat that Israel has ever faced because of the potential to destroy wonder what it’s like to be a teenager somewhere else, like America … the entire country of Israel, without even a chance of fighting. Further, this danger is magnified by Ahmadinejad’s threats to wipe Israel off the face of the Enough with the heavy stuff – after graduation, my friends and I are going to planet. Israel is thus rightly wary of any Iranian attempts at nuclear power, even Amman Beach for a few days as a graduation present from our parents! We’re if Iran proclaims that it has no military intentions with the weapons. going to relax and tan a little before we are off to the army. The salt water in the Dead Sea will be nice and soothing for my muscles after my last swim meet. The countries surrounding Israel have had disputes with Israel because of deep- Floating so easily in the salt water is fun, and I won’t have to worry about any rooted cultural conflicts between Muslims and Jews over who the “rightful” fish or other little sea creatures creeping up on me … I can’t wait! owner of Jerusalem is, and who the “rightful” owner of the disputed Palestinian territories is. While the Jewish people would probably be happy to live in peace My sister doesn’t want me to leave for the army because then she’ll be like an with a two-state solution, many Arab states do not agree … This tension … only child. I feel bad leaving her – but this is what I want and need to do. Well, causes difficulty in figuring out a permanent solution to the conflict in the I have to go now, dinner is ready and my mother is yelling at me. Middle East. Until next time,18 Maya 19
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