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12th Annual Israel Arbeiter Holocaust Essay Contest

This essay contest is a tribute to Israel “Izzy” Arbeiter, a Holocaust survivor, a lifelong activist who lost several family members in the Holocaust, and a past president of the American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Greater Boston. Students in grades 6-12 are invited to write a 400-800 word essay on the below topic. Essays are judged on originality, knowledge, style and depth.

Announcing our 2018 Winners:

Upper Division

First Place
Sherley Maximin, Malden High School, 12th Grade
“The Night of Broken Glass, The Broken Promises”

Second Place
Kayleigh Flanagan, “Together We Rise, Together We Fall”
Stoughton High School, 11th grade

Third Place
Joanne Ho, “Recognition and Inspiration”
Malden High School, 11th grade


Lower Division Winners

First Place
Leah Kilbertis, “Untitled,” Tenney Grammar School, 8th grade

Second Place
Waverly Leonard, “Religion,” Concord Middle School, 8th grade

Third Place
Rachel Hayes, “Breaking the Silence,” Sanborn Middle School, 8th grade

We invite you to stand with our community on Sunday, June 10th, for our annual Yom HaShoah Commemoration, “Rededication to Resiliency,” at the newly renovated Faneuil Hall.

The Israel Arbeiter Holocaust Essay Contest is generously supported by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany. 

November 9, 2018 will mark the 80th anniversary of a series of violent attacks against Jews spread across Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. Known as Kristallnacht, or “the night of broken glass,” it was the most open and violent attack on Jews by the Nazi regime up until that time. The aftermath was devastating: between 1,500 and 3,000 Jews were killed; 30,000 were sent to concentration camps; over 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed; and synagogues across Germany were burned down. Despite the widespread outrage, Kristallnacht was not enough to make the rest of the world act to head off disaster – marking the beginning of the Holocaust.

This summer, our own Boston community was outraged when there were two different acts of vandalism at the New England Holocaust Memorial, resulting in two shattered glass panels. In the words of a local student: “This memorial was damaged this past summer by a negligent teen. The tragedy struck the hearts of many who hold dear the meaning of the memorial. Hate has been flooding our nation and we haven’t been responding quite enough.”

Remembering Kristallnacht gives us the opportunity to reflect on the power of individuals, groups, and nations; not just in an historical context, but in the present moment.
• Write about what an individual might do today, alone or as a part of a group, to combat the growing tide of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism.
• Think of a time when you or someone you know faced prejudice or bullying. What did you do about it? What did you learn from the experience?

Deadline for Entries is April 25th.

Educational Scholarships Available To The Winners!

Essay contest winners will receive educational scholarships and recognition at the Community Holocaust Commemoration of Yom HaShoah.

Please submit essay in word document along with name, address, phone number, email, birthdate, teacher, school, and grade to: Ellen Kaye at  or mail to JCRC, 126 High St, Boston, MA 02110. Essay finalists will be notified by May 18.

To learn more about this summer’s incidents, visit http://bit.ly/2fGl14o.

For resource suggestions and helpful articles, please visit: www.jcrcboston.org/holocaust and www.facinghistory.org

In partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Facing History and Ourselves, the American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Greater Boston, and many generous donors.

Read the winning essay from the 2017 essay contest 
See highlights from our 2017 Yom HaShoah Commemoration 




Facing History