Sunday night was a sleepless one at the Meaningful Life Center office in Crown Heights which was a buzzing hive of activity as the 11:59 PM essay submission deadline came and went.
Emails for the MyLife: Essay Contest, made possible by a grant from the Meromim Foundation, began pouring in last week and continued to arrive in the organization’s inbox right up until the deadline.
“I was awed and inspired when I realized what this volume of essays means when translated into hours of studying Chassidus,” said contest director Rabbi Sruli Baron.
“Each contestant must have spent upwards of 10 hours researching and writing their essay. We’re talking thousands of hours spent applying Chassidus to our lives. Now that’s impressive.”
The contest has made waves around the world, connecting to people of all ages and from all backgrounds. The impact has especially been felt in schools, seminaries and yeshivos–where teachers have reported seeing their students energized in an unprecedented way by the teachings of Chassidus.
“The MyLife: Chassidus Applied Essay Contest has helped our bochurim appreciate the study of Chassidus on a completely new level.” says Rabbi Henoch Rosenfeld, assistant principal of Yeshivas Achei Temimim in Pittsburgh.
“Incorporating this contest into our Language Arts curriculum has given our students the opportunity to apply what they are learning in their Judaic classes through the creation of thought-provoking essays. We plan to continue to incorporate this into our curriculum in future years.”
Rabbi Simon Jacobson, Dean of the Meaningful Life Center (MLC) and conceiver of this unique project, comments, “It’s inspiring to see so many entries from the younger generation. These bright applicants represent the future leaders and innovators of Lubavitch. We wish everyone the best of luck in the coming rounds of judging. In my point of view, all the entrants are winners.
“Indeed,” Rabbi Jacobson adds, “the biggest winner is Chassidus itself and our Rebbeim, who dedicated their lives to teach us Chassidus, thereby giving us the greatest possible gift: A blueprint for living the healthiest possible life and to realizing the purpose of our lives.
“The fact that hundreds of people have invested their time, energy, and ingenuity to study and apply these teachings is a testament to the profound relevance and timelessness of Chassidus and its power to transform people’s lives.”
Now, the judging phase will commence. Every essay will be judged blindly; the judges have no knowledge of the author’s identity or age. Among the judges are Rabbis Leibel Altein, Dr. Yitzchok Chakiris, Dr. Shimon Cowen, Manis Friedman, YY Jacobson, Dr. Shmuel Klatzkin, Sholom Lipskar and Shais Taub.
Judges essays in Hebrew are Rabbi Osher Farkash and Rabbi Dovid Olidort.
The contest winners will be announced on or around April 2, 2017 (6 Nissan).
To stay tuned for contest announcements and to read the essays as they are published, opt-in to the weekly newsletter at www.meaningfullife.com.
The MyLife: Chassidus Applied Essay contest has been made possible by a grant from the Meromim Foundation.
*Additional judges to be announced.