Keren Or (Ray of Light) is a creative arts contest for Minnesota’s Jewish teens. The contest, now in its 15th 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 —submitted 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 12 Twin Cities synagogues (Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Orthodox) as well as unaffiliated families.
Cash prizes are awarded in the categories of prose, poetry, and photography for students in grades 7-9 and grades 10-12. First-place winners receive $100. Second and third-place winners receive $50. Honorable mention is awarded $36. The winning work will be on display in the lobby gallery of the Sabes JCC (May 1-31), at the St. Paul JCC (June 24-July 1), as well as at the Keren Or website. And the winning entries were published as a supplement to the American Jewish World’s April 2019 print edition, which can be viewed HERE.
A public awards ceremony at the Sabes JCC will take place 2 p.m. Sunday, May 5, and is open to everyone.
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.
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: kerenorcontest.org. Rimon is an initiative of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.