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The goal of the annual Kaplun Essay Contest is to encourage students to think about their heritage, reflect on their values, and better understand Judaism’s contribution to civilization and culture. We believe strongly in the value of this writing process as a way for young people to explore challenging ethical topics.


2020 MOrris j. & betty KAPLUN ESSAY CONTEST

This Year’s Topics

Level 1: Grades 7-9
Honoring thy father and mother: how and why, from your own perspective

Level 2: Grades 10-12
Reflect on ways that being mindful of the 10th Commandment — “Thou shalt not covet” — can help us navigate our social media-driven world.


The first-place winners in Level 1 and Level 2 will each be awarded $1,800. The next five winners in each level will receive an award of $500. Entrance prizes of $18.00 will be awarded to the first 50 essays received in each level.


  1. Essays must must be a minimum of 250 words. Level 1 entries may not exceed 1,000 words. Level 2 entries may not exceed 1,500 words.
    Please note: the submission form counts characters, not words, and will not automatically reject essays that are too short or too long. Please check the number of words in your essay before submitting.

  2. Entries must be received by March 13, 2020.

  3. Winners will be notified by May 31, 2020.

  4. All entries will become property of the Foundation and may be reproduced by the Foundation, with attribution.

  5. The Foundation suggests finishing your essay prior to starting your application, as the online application cannot be saved and submitted until it is complete.