Hebrew Poetry Contest 2013
This famous midrash about Abraham explains why he is called ha-ivri, the Hebrew, and by extension, it tells us something about the Hebrew language. Abraham was willing to take a stand; as the world’s first monotheist, he bravely stood on one ever, one side, while the rest of the world stood opposed to him, on the other side. Similarly, Ivrit, the Hebrew language, is the language of Hebrews. To use Hebrew is to take a stand, to connect oneself with the Jewish past, present and future. To use Hebrew is to draw a line that connects us with other Jews throughout the world and especially in the state of Israel. Language is much more than a tool for communication; it is an ocean that carries an entire history and culture. To write poetry in Hebrew is to connect one’s own personal creativity with the heritage and creative genius of the Jewish people.
This year, the RAVSAK Hebrew Poetry Contest inspired numerous Abrahams and Sarahs to remarkable achievements in quite a variety of forms. For the first time we received a Hebrew haiku as a winning entry! Other winners take the form of a dramatic monologue and a letter of condolence, draw inspiration from nature or from dreams, reflect inner states, philosophical ideas, and Jewish history and themes. One striking trend is the use of rhyme and meter throughout many of the poems, an interest in the craft of poetry. We were pleased to receive poems from schools throughout the US and from some of RAVSAK’s partner schools in Israel.
A special thanks goes to this year’s judge, Janice Silverman Rebibo, herself a wonderful Hebrew poet and a recipient of the President of Israel Award for her fourth collection entitled A Stranger in Zion. Janice is a senior program officer and technology director at Hebrew at the Center, which works with day schools and other Jewish educational settings to change and radically improve Hebrew instruction. Janice read all submissions with care and commented generously on all winning entries.