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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.



This Year’s Topics

Level 1: Grades 7-9
What person of importance to the Jewish people, past or present, would you like to meet and why?

Level 2: Grades 10-12
Does modern day life adversely affect Jewish values—why or why not?

2020 topics will be posted in late September 2019


The first-place winners in Level 1 and Level 2 will each be awarded $1,800. The next five finalists in each level will receive an award of $750. 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 14, 2019. (Revised deadline.)

  3. Finalists will be notified by May 26, 2019.

  4. Prizes will be awarded by June 30, 2019.

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

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