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Jewish Scholastic Press Association

Jewish Scholastic Press Association

Teen Essay Contest: Messages in the Movies


Hadassah Magazine and jGirls+ are sponsoring their fourth annual teen essay contest for girls, young women and non-binary teens, offering a $300 prize and publication in both Hadassah and jGirls+ magazines.  This year’s contest topic is writers’ experiences with mental health. The deadline is Oct. 23, 2023.

Here are the description and the writing prompt:


In the past few months, we’ve seen classic pop icons​ — including Barbie and Judy Blume’s Margaret Simon —​ take on new life and explode into contemporary cultural phenomena.  

On that note, Hadassah Magazine and jGirls+ Magazine, an online publication by and for self-identifying Jewish girls, young women and nonbinary teens, are excited to announce our fourth annual teen essay contest, which this year asks:  

How have the adapted films Barbie and/or Are You There God​? It’s Me, Margaret impacted you? What are your thoughts about both the messages they convey and the phenomena surrounding them? 

Some things you might want ​to consider as you craft your 600-word essay… 

How have these works influenced your thinking about yourself ​or the way the world works? Which elements have resonated with you​ — and w​h​at, or who, have these works left out? What kinds of conversations have you had with your peers and/or your parents or other relatives about these representations? What have you agreed o​r disagreed on? What has surprised you? Have the Jewish connections resonated with you, given that Barbie’s creator was Jewish and Margaret wrestles with her religion? 

We find that the strongest essays weave real dialogue and memories from your own life with your analysis of or realizations about the larger world. For instance, instead of just telling us about what it was like to see the Barbie movie, you might write a piece that vividly paints a scene from your childhood and connects it with a conversation you recently had about gender dynamics. 

The contest is open to self-identifying Jewish girls, young women and nonbinary teens between the ages of 13 and 19 who reside in the United States, the District of Columbia and the State of Israel, except where prohibited by law. 

Deadline for submission is October 18, 2023.  

The winner will receive a $300 educational scholarship, the winning essay will be published in Hadassah Magazine, both in print and online, and in jGirls+ Magazine. The prize also includes a one-year subscription to Hadassah Magazine. 

For details and guidelines click here. For the entry form click here.  

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