Better 2 Write National and Local Winners 2017

May 23, 2017
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Congratulations to the schools who participated in the 2017 Better 2 Write contest. We are excited to announce the national winners:


First prize: Rachael Zacks, SSDS Chicago, Northbrook, IL
Second prize: Eli Gordon, Maimonides, Albany, NY
Third prize: Charlie Herman, Kadimah of Buffalo, Amherst, NY

Congratulations to Charles Herman for taking first prize at the school level and third price at the national level!

For the local level win, Charlie will receive scholarships of up to $5,000 a summer program or camp or $8,000 towards a gap year in Israel!

His third place national win brings in $5,000 for Kadimah School of Buffalo!

The winning submissions were particularly meaningful and exhibited a high quality of writing. The judges were impressed by how the Better Together program has impacted the students, as reflected in their feelings about seniors, aging, and the mitzvah of caring for the elderly.

Ye’ashar kochechem and mazal tov to all of the participants. Silver medals are being mailed out to all participants from all schools, and gold medals to each school winner.

Kadimah Academy gratefully acknowledges a prominent national foundation Better Together Program which has enabled our students to develop meaningful relationships with seniors at Weinberg Campus and with residents at Jewish Federation Housing. Kadimah has benefitted tremendously from its participation in the Better Together Program by visiting seniors at Weinberg and Jewish Federation Apartments, inviting them to school to participate in model seders and other programs, and by exploring our local community together on field trips.

The Better Together Program also includes the Better2Write writing contest. Entries for the writing contest focused on how the students were impacted by the program, as reflected in their feelings about seniors, aging, and the mitzvah of caring for the elderly.

Click links below to read the essays.

Mr. Roberts, by Charlie Herman

I walked into the vestibule and divested myself of the heavy and wet outerwear. I entered the front doors and walked over to the front desk. Carrying the big box into the building with me, I had used all of the money I had to buy it…

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A Full Life, by Jane Ablove

It was 1925 and a baby was being born. The baby was my Savta (grandmother), Helen Cooper. She was born during the roaring 20s and was a young child during the great depression. Now my Savta didn’t necessarily have a bad life during the great depression. Her dad was a plumber so her family had a pretty steady income. When Savta was growing up she didn’t have much but she had enough. Savta had two sisters: Lillian the middle sister, and Claire the older sister (late). When Savta grew up she went to college to become a schoolteacher and was a teacher for about 40 years…

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Mrs. Anastasia and Me, by Hailey Epstein

I stood, staring at the red door, silently arguing about whether to ring the doorbell or not. My finger, an inch from the doorbell button, shook. I calmed myself and pushed the button…

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Aging is Unstoppable, by Michael Sanders

The scariest part for 18-year-old Morris Berman wasn’t the moment he discovered he was drafted. It was the agonizing anticipation between the time he read the letter, and the time he would be sent to a bloodbath. It was that day in 1959 when dawn turned to dusk, walls tumbled, light was extinguished, and his life changed forever…

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My Grandma, by Caleb Senick

My grandma is 73 years old, and had four kids. She hides it pretty well, but I know that she had a very sad life…

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A Crime Turned Good, by Jonah Slabodkin

David nervously searched his pocket for his weapon as he speedily walked across the snow-covered sidewalks of Frederick Avenue. He mumbled to himself comments of reassurance and encouragement that went along the lines of, “Everything will be alright”. David, getting closer and closer to his destination, started to see his whole life flash right in front of his eyes…

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Stroke After Stroke, by Maya Slabodkin

Swimming isn’t just a sport. Swimming is my life. My name is Elias Wiener. I currently live in the suburbs of downtown Washington D.C, in the state of Maryland. I began swimming when I was just three-years old. When I start swimming, every thought and worry in my foggy mind starts to go away and begins to vanish in the water. Ever since I was little, I’ve always wanted to beat the world record for the fastest five-hundred front-crawl. I am currently twenty-one and still working towards my goal…

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M’dor L’dor, by Shira Symons

“The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge” Ezekiel 18:2
I remember being very close with General Aaron R. Rabow, or to me, Dad. Or at least I was before that summer. He was a well brought up, strong, confident man, full of integrity. He was a perfect leader. He just wasn’t the perfect father. I remember all the ruckus that had happened that week. I was young, so I didn’t necessarily understand. It started with the increase in stress around the house. I was the only child, so I was alone most of the time. My mother would be out at work most of the days at her underpaid teaching job downtown and my dad will be out at the base or training. I had become a very independent child for my age. By the age of seven, I was packing my own lunches, doing my own laundry, and making my own meals…

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One Last Thank You, by Norimi Truskinovsky

August 9th, 2016, less than a week after my 12th birthday. On this day, I could no longer say “thank you” to my Grandpa. He always said, “I love you very much!” and gave me a hug and kiss. He had weak legs so while he sat in a big chair, he gave my family a hug, one by one, giving my dad, my mom, my brother, my two elder sisters, my little sister, and me his wonderful, warm, big hugs. We bumped into his big tummy, but he didn’t seem to mind. He always had a smile on his face…

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