Two Atlanta Jewish Academy eighth-graders, Jolie Abadi and Rebecca Lewyn, recently learned that their entries in the Creative Communication poetry contest were selected for publication in the anthology “A Celebration of Poets!”
Rebecca’s poem is “The Concrete Lane”:
My footsteps mark the concrete lane
Whose scarred faces lay agape
Seasons of ruined fronds will shame
Nothing will ever stay the same
Blankets ice the concrete lane
Whose cold frame standstill agleam
Eyes the beauty of recurring rain
Nothing ever stays the same
Shrubs wrap the concrete lane
Whose wounds fill with fowl pests
Feels the writhing in his mane
Nothing ever can stay the same
But somewhere along the concrete lane
My footsteps come across a body asleep
I gaze at its corpse and my heart fills with pain
Nothing could ever stay the same
Jolie’s poem is “What Happened to Peace?”:
The windy morning, as quiet as can be,
Yet something took a turn inside of me.
A soaring surrender I wish I would see.
The ground shook,
And I sunk like an anchor,
On my trip to the bottom of the ocean.
My vision was blurred as I searched for an answer.
The darkness consumes us, where should we look?
A second ringing in my ears.
A second in time to fear and react.
The cries for help bring never ending tears.
My mind went blank, and my body went stun.
Do I look back or do I run?
Why must this happen here?
On the round Earth where I yearn for peace,
Will we ever get off this carousel of hostility?
Where the children are sobbing instead of loving,
On this panicked ride where I yearn for release.
I can feel the growing heat,
No matter the depths of defeat,
The fire within, for the country I love, will never be beat.
Poetry Reciters as Well
At the Weber School, students in the “Reading the World” classes of Michael Bennett, Holly Chesser and Leigh Herman recently competed before a packed audience for the school title in the national high school poetry reciting competition Poetry Out Loud.
Sophomore Peri Barnard won at the school level to advance to the metro Atlanta regional competition at the Atlanta History Center in February.
Students in Poetry Out Loud choose poems from an online anthology, memorize them and recite them for a panel of judges, whose evaluation is based on the performance and accuracy of the memorization.
Weber’s competition began at the classroom level. English teachers worked with students on analyzing and understanding their chosen poems, and drama teacher Fhena Lewis worked with them on recitation. Teacher and peer judges selected the students who moved on to the school-level competition.
Tenth-graders Isabel Berlin and Zachary Reisman finished second and third, respectively, at the school level.
Honorable mentions went to fellow sophomores Micah Abramson, Aliza Abusch-Magder, Anna Rose Barrack, Samuel Bronfman, Evan Esworthy, Sarah Lewyn, Ruthie Stolovitz and Sloane Warner.
Senior Mattie Rosen, sophomore Sammi Seiden and junior Rosa Brown emceed the competition.
Applications are being accepted until Jan. 4 for the 31st annual Bronfman Fellowship, open to self-identified Jewish students in North America who will high school seniors in the fall of 2017.
The fellowship will select 26 teenagers, who will take a free, five-week study trip to Israel next summer, which includes time spent with a parallel group of Israeli students.
Programming for the fellows continues with two rigorous seminars during the school year.
Fellows also are asked to plan and lead Jewish or social action projects at home.
“My father, Edgar M. Bronfman, placed enormous faith in young people’s ability to see the world not just as it is, but as it ought to be,” said Adam R. Bronfman, the president of the Samuel Bronfman Foundation. “He believed that young people energized by their Judaism were best equipped to both shape a Jewish renaissance and improve the world.”
More than half of Bronfman Fellows go on to attend Ivy League universities. The more than 1,100 alumni of the program in North America and Israel include seven Rhodes Scholars, 18 Fulbright Scholars, 29 Wexner Fellows and 22 Dorot Fellows. The alumni include authors Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) and Jonathan Safran Foer, who is appearing at the Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center on Wednesday night, Nov. 9.
“We seek to increase communication between young people across the Jewish spectrum, including fostering bonds between Jews in North America and Israel,” foundation Executive Director Becky Voorwinde, said. “This program serves as a creative force that has inspired some of our best Jewish young adults to become creative leaders in their communities.”
Applications are available at bronfman.org. Prior Jewish education is not required. Students are chosen based on merit alone.