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Ateret Zvi Prize

 

 

Background

 

The Ateret Zvi Prize is sponsored by the family of Rabbi and Professor Zvi H. Szubin. Professor Szubin studied at Yeshivat Hevron and received the smicha of yoreh yoreh, yadin yadin from Chief Rabbi Herzog. He served in the Israeli Army for three years, and was deployed to the Sinai during the 1956 Sinai campaign.

After completing university and an LL.B. degree in Israel, he came to the United States and received his Ph.D. from Dropsie College. He taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary and the City College of New York and, ultimately, became the Chair of the Classical Languages and Hebrew Department at City College.

Professor Szubin was a path-breaking thinker on a broad range of subjects, and authored numerous articles and works on subjects from agunah and mishpat ivri to the role of legal terminology in Jewish liturgy. His scholarly work focused on retrieving lost meanings and connotations of Hebrew and Aramaic terms through a careful study of ancient legal documents, and then refracting these new insights onto well-known texts to yield unexpected results.

Professor Szubin was a supporter of Hadar, in particular its fierce commitment to traditional Jewish values and texts, its unabashed egalitarianism, and its promising efforts to energize thoughtful Jews of all ages.

He is survived by his wife, Laurie Szubin, his children Lisa Szubin and Jay Katzman, Adam Szubin and Miriam Szubin, and his grandchildren, Leora Katzman, Jonathan Katzman, William Katzman, Nathan Szubin, Micah Szubin, and Josiah Szubin.

 

Submission Information

 

Submissions for the Ateret Zvi Prize in Hiddushei Torah 5781 are due not later than December 31, 2020.

Submissions must be essays of 1800-4000 words, in the form of a dvar Torah, sermon, or a lesson that could be delivered to an engaged, communal audience. Submissions should take up a close analysis of a Biblical or classical rabbinic source. The focus can be a weekly Torah reading, a passage or theme in Tanakh, a piece of liturgy, a Talmudic sugya or a classical midrash. Texts should lie at the center of the presentation, and they should be probed in detail. Prior interpretive traditions should be carefully considered and either explained in a new light or contrasted with an original alternative offered by the author.

Presentations should be framed for an intellectually engaged and religiously-oriented audience. Academic approaches and methods are encouraged to the extent they enhance understanding of the texts under consideration, and Professor Szubin was fond of drawing on lessons from art, comparative religion, archaeology, literature and linguistics. Ultimately, though, submissions should deliver religious insight to those reading and listening. In other words, a successful submission will not only address a textual problem with rigor, but also offer thought-provoking implications for Jewish learning, thought and/or practice. These implications should be made explicit, showing how we might apply the submission’s insights to the study of Tanakh, halakhah and Jewish practice, hashkafah and theology, liturgy or other Jewish fields.

All submissions must be original, never having been shared in print or in digital media—including social media posts—in the past. If you are a rabbi and have shared a sermon from the pulpit, it can still be submitted. If you have published a prior version of the piece on your personal or synagogue website, you may also enter it so long as it is substantially re-worked.

Submissions may be in English or Hebrew. However, any winning Hebrew submission will have to be translated into English; any costs associated with the translation will be paid out of the prize money.

Each writer may submit only one essay in a given year’s competition.

Submissions should be in a file uploaded in Microsoft Word. Please make sure not to include your name anywhere within the document, including in the file name, to ensure anonymity when the judges read your submission.

If you have any questions around these submission guidelines, please contact us at [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

When are entries for this year’s competition due?
  • Submissions for the Ateret Zvi Prize in Hiddushei Torah 5781 are due not later than December 31, 2020.
Can I submit an essay in Hebrew?
  • Yes, submissions may be in English or Hebrew.  However, any winning Hebrew submission will have to be translated into English; any costs associated with the translation will be paid out of the prize money.
Can I submit more than one piece for consideration?
  • No, each author may submit only one piece per year.
What format should my submission be in?
  • Submissions should be in a file uploaded in Microsoft Word. Please make sure not to include your name anywhere within the document, including in the file name, to ensure anonymity when the judges read your submission.
When will the winners for this year’s competition be announced?
  • Winners for the Ateret Zvi Prize in Hiddushei Torah 5781 will be announced in April 2021.
When will the Prize Ceremony be held?
  • The Prize Ceremony for the Ateret Zvi Prize in Hiddushei Torah 5781 will be held in early summer 2021. The exact date will be announced when the winners are announced in April.

Prize Details

 

Submissions will be judged by a special committee of scholars assembled by Hadar. Judges will assess submissions based on the quality of the presentation, the strength of its scholarship, and the power of its religious insight.

The winner of the Ateret Zvi prize will receive $4,000, with prize money also awarded to second and third place winners. The winning dvar Torah will be published by Hadar and the winner will be invited to teach the dvar torah in a public forum held in honor of the winning submission. Travel from abroad is not covered for this purpose and prize money will need to be directed to that. Full-time staff and faculty of Hadar, judges, and their immediate family members are ineligible to submit.

Other exceptional entries may be published as well; Hadar reserves the right to share all submissions publicly once having notified the authors.

 

Past Winners

 

  • 5780: The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy? On the Possible Meanings of Repentance
    Orit Malka
    Read essay in English here; in Hebrew here.
  • 5779: Out Beyond the Sea: A Theology of Divine Absence
    Akiva Mattenson
    Read essay here.

Standout Essays

  • Jonah and the New Era of Teshuvah
    Mira Bernstein
    Read essay here.
  • How Does an Etrog Glorify God?: Hiddur Mitzvah, the Individual, and the Community
    Ranana Dine
    Read essay here.
  • מתנות קשות
    Tomer Greenberg
    Read essay in Hebrew here.
  • My Brother's Keeper: Judah, Tamar, and the Lineage of Israel
    Benjamin Hofkin
    Read essay here.
  • Ba-kol, Mi-kol, Kol: The Blessing of Avraham’s Mythic Daughter
    Margo Hughes-Robinson
    Read essay here.
  • Lighting Up the Night:The Revolutionary Mandate of a Rabbinic Coup
    Avi Poupko
    Read essay here.
  • May You Be Like Sarah and Milcah
    David Saperstein
    Read essay here.
  • On Oenomaus, Balaam, and Jewish Education
    Amram Tropper
    Read essay here.
  • Aharon, Yirmiyahu, and the Almond Rod
    Elisheva Urbas
    Read essay here.
  • Sha’atnez as Ostentatious Dress: Towards a Demystification of the Choq
    Solomon Wiener
    Read essay here.
  • From Monarch to Matriarch: Re-reading Megillat Esther in Her Own Words
    Rabbi Dovid Zirkind
    Read essay here.
Learning Tefillah
Want to learn more about our prayers—from both a meaning and experiential angle? Read and listen to thoughts on different sections of tefillah from R. Elie Kaunfer, Dena Weiss, and Joey Weisenberg.
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