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An Annual Creative Arts Competition for CBE Confirmation Students to Honor the Life of Megan Miriam Berman
Megan's Muse is an annual creative arts competition for current Congregation Beth Emeth (CBE) Confirmation students, sponsored by CBE's Sisterhood. Its purpose is to stimulate creative thought and expression as inspired by Judaic writings.
Each year a "theme" is chosen by a panel of judges, and a quote or verse is chosen from traditional or non-traditional Jewish writings. Entries are judged by the Confirmation student's ability to convey their understanding and interpretation of the theme via a creative medium.
Winners will be announced at Confirmation on May 18, 2018. The winner of Megan's Muse receives a $500 award, and the the judges have the option to award more than one. Second prize, if awarded, is $250. The hope of Sisterhood is that the winner(s) will use this award to further enrich themselves spiritually, creatively, or academically. You can view the competition rules and application.
Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. ....get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.
-Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
***2018 Winning Entry***
The Fairy House of Radical Amazement
“Our goal should be to live in radical amazement…get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.” - Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heshel
When thinking about this quote and looking for inspiration for this project, I was walking in the woods behind my house. As I watched the people walking by on the path, many looking down at screens and many talking on their phones, I realized how we often take the beautiful things that God has created for us for granted. I thought about how I could take these gifts and make them even more special, so that people would stop and notice and maybe even connect with each other in a different way. I thought about adding something to the woods that would give others a moment of radical amazement, as they stop and look around them and appreciate the beauty of nature and the kindness of other people.
I had watched a documentary about fairy houses—small, colorful houses that people often create in the bottom of old trees—and decided to find a spot to create one behind my house. Using wood, paint, and some doll furniture, as well as some carpentry help from my dad, I was able to take something normal and ordinary that people might walk by every day and make it into an opportunity for them to stop and smile. I left a small bag with sticky notes and a pencil and I have had my own moments of amazement as I have checked back to find sweet notes written by people of all ages, which you can find here—these are after just a few days after building the house. I plan to create more houses to add to my fairy village, and to create more moments of radical amazement for my community and for myself.
The Fairy House of Radical Amazement — Jordana Sweeney
A Backpack Through Wonders
A Backpack through Wonders — Jordyn Crane
The default alarm on my phone chimes. A second later I’m up and ready to go.
What will this day become? How will I live it to the fullest?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been told I am a “glass half full” kind of person.
I liked that, but its meaning is finally clear.
What can I do today, what will happen?
Will it be full of new faces or loaded with learning?
I start the day with song dying to find out.
I’m inspired by my own eyes in the mirror as I brush my teeth with vigor.
I know that some things will unexpectedly unfold.
I’ll have surprises, I have disappointments, I’ll be exhilarated.
I’ll make things happen today.
I know that even simple things can make a big difference.
I’ll make a list every morning of what I need to accomplish that day
I’ll hold the door open whenever I’m in front of someone.
I’ll share some of my lunch to a friend.
I’ll invite someone sitting alone to join me and my friends for lunch.
I’ll make it a point to smile with peers throughout the hallways.
I’ll push a little harder to focus on my schoolwork instead of reflexively tapping on my device.
I’ll take a second to reach out to friends I don’t normally text.
I’ll show my love to those who may need it.
I’ll do small mitzvahs like picking up and throwing away trash I see in the hallway.
I’ll greet everyone I meet with a glorious “hello!”
I’ll ask my teachers questions to show I’m interested in what they’re teaching.
I’ll offer help to a stranger who is struggling.
You can join me.
You can do one thing to make your own day better. Or someone else’s.
You can take your passion and make it happen.
You can help me make the world a better place.
I'm Awake — Abby Diamond
Light and Dark
Radical amazement is living every moment of every day appreciating everything in the world around us. It is a lifelong pursuit, an outlook on life that every day we reach for. But, to do this, to live in radical amazement, we cannot wait for the beautiful to appear. Indeed, G-d is everywhere, in the sun, the trees, the happiness, and the extraordinary, but also in the caves, the cold, the suffering, and the mundane. In the light and in the dark. To live with radical amazement, we must strive to appreciate the beauty in all that is around us for the very fact that everything in our world exists is worthy of radical amazement.
Light and Dark — Joseph Rubin
A Sunrise at Sea
A Sunrise at Sea — Alexandra Schulz
The Exciting Life of a Jewish Teenager
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The Exciting Life of a Jewish Teenager — James Stluka