To continue our JPEF Youth Writing Contest winner profile series, this week we spotlight 3rd place lower division winner Micaela Shulman and her teacher, Rabbi Sanford Akselrad of Congregation Ner Tamid in Nevada. (To see last week’s post, click here.)
Micaela’s essay contemplates our capacity and will for survival, also touching upon themes of camaraderie and gender integration. “War cannot belong to one gender,” she writes, positing that part of the reason for the partisans’ ultimate success in surviving was their willingness to fight and live alongside women. In her essay, Micaela attempts to straddle the divide between individualism and humankind’s more collectivist impulses, such as love:
A gifted writer like Micaela could have found no better mentor than Rabbi Sanford Akselrad, the accomplished leader of Congregation Ner Tamid in Henderson, Nevada for almost two and a half decades. Since he took up the position, the temple has grown from just over 60 families to be the largest Reform congregation in Nevada. For him, the Youth Writing Contest is an excellent tool for connecting students to the history of the Holocaust:
Thanks again to Micaela, Rabbi Akselrad, and Congregation Ner Tamid for participating, and we look forward to reading their students’ essays next year!