After much anticipation the winners of the first ever MyLife: Essay Contest were announced live last night during the 61st episode of MyLife: Chassidus Applied. The five judges – Rabbis Leibel Altein, Yaakov Brawer, YY Jacobson, Sholom Lipskar and Eli Silberstein – evaluated the essays and selected the winners, from the 530 (!) submissions received, using an intensive grading system.
The winners were chosen hours before the broadcast from a group of eleven finalists – men and women from around the globe and from across the spectrum – students, laypeople, Rabbis, shluchim, educators and professors – testifying to the wide and exciting interest this contest has generated. Two of the finalists were Hebrew essays. The winners were announced the last fifteen minutes of Sunday night’s MyLife episode.
The first place winner Aryeh Gurewitz is a 22-year-old bochur learning in Chovevei Torah. A Baal Teshuva in his second year in yeshiva, he graduated from UPenn’s Wharton School of Business and first studied in Miami Yeshiva for a year before coming to study in Brooklyn. “We are thrilled,” remarked Rabbi Jacobson, “that the winner is young talent, which goes a long way in demonstrating how everyone is capable of applying Chassidus and winning! We are confident that this will encourage and motivate many more people to submit their in the next contest.”
The top winning essays can be read here. Each week going forward we will be publishing another one of the essays. Please subscribe to the Meaningful Life Weekly Op-Ed to receive these essays.
FULL LIST OF WINNERS
$10,000 First Place Winner
Aryeh Gurewitz, 22, Lake Worth, Florida. Topic: Getting Past Depression by Getting Past Yourself READ FULL ESSAY
$3,600 Second Place
Yossi Grossbaum, 35, Chabad of Folsom, Folsom, California. Topic: Failure: Key to Success READ FULL ESSAY
$500 Third Place Winner (two tied)
Rivka Johnson, 31, Melbourne, Australia. Topic: Chassidic Solution to Overeating READ FULL ESSAY
Mina Gordon, 57, Melbourne, Australia. Topic: Love Your Fellow READ FULL ESSAY
Yudit Kasowitz, 28, Brooklyn, New York. Topic: How to Cope when Life Throws the Unexpected at You
Michal Morgenstern, 34, Haifa, Israel. Topic: Hope in Face of Challenge
Shifi Goldfarb, 21, Maalot, Israel. Topic: להכיר, להעריך, לנתב — ADHD
מבט חסידי — יישומי על הפרעת קשב וריכוז, A Chassidic Approach to ADHD: Powerful Energies in Small Containers
Chelsea Mika Shar, 25, Johannesburg, South Africa. Topic: Speak What You Mean; Mean What You Speak
Yitzchak Winner, 53, Brooklyn, New York. Topic: Positive Thinking
Yaakov Deutch, 34, Jerusalem, Israel. Topic: דרך כבושה, The Chassidic Addition to Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy
Mendel Rubin, 42, Albany, New York. Topic: Power of Parable
Yakov Danishefsky, YU, Jerusalem, Israel. Topic: The Power of Mystery
Sholom Kesselman, Los Angeles, California. Topic: When Failure Is Really Success
Elchonon Solomon, Morristown, NJ. Topic: The Power of Thought
Dina Hendel, Jerusalem, Israel. Topic: Mending Broken Vessels: Healing Parenting Advice
Sterna Ginsberg, Brooklyn, New York. Topic: Powered by G-d
Zvi Lipchik, Brooklyn, New York. Topic: Against Our Nature, But the Ultimate Pleasure
Sara Spielman, Brooklyn, New York. Topic: Freedom from Fear – Freedom to Fear
Yeshayah Marantz, Safed, Israel. Topic: להתחתן כל יום מחדש, Perpetual Marriage
Shneur Zalman Pevzner, Paris, France. Topic: מתוח משתי הקצוות, The Battle Between Matter and Spirit
The MyLife: Essay Contest invited people of all ages from around the world to submit an original essay applying a concept or idea in Chassidus to solve a contemporary life issue or challenge. Although only a select number of essays could be chosen as winners, most of the 530 essays were very impressive and moving, demonstrating how Chassidus provides, even for a secular person, powerful tools for personal transformation and how Chassidus addresses the most fundamental human needs, from the emotional to the psychological and the spiritual. The winning essays were chosen by the judges for standing out among all the submission in fulfilling the contest guidelines.
The Meaningful Life Center is now exploring ways how to channel the enthusiasm and momentum created by this contest into classes, programs and curricula to further the effort of applying Chassidus to life. Additionally, The Meaningful Life Center will be looking for ways to utilize the great talent that has emerged from this contest.
The Meaningful Life Center announced that this contest will become an annual event. To find out about next year’s contest, subscribeto the MLC mailing list.