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Submitted by Shomrei Olam

SHOMREI OLAM: Jewish Environmental Advocates of Cincinnati is proud to announce the winners of its essay contest for Jewish youth. The essay contest titled, ”What does it mean for Jews to be stewards of the Earth?” celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day first celebrated on April 22,1970.​​​​​

High School division winner, Emily Waterman, received a $500 award. She is an 11th grader at Sycamore High School and attends Kulanu, the joint Reform Jewish Temples’ High School. In citing scripture, “I will plant you, and not uproot “(Jeremiah 42:10) as a metaphor, Emily wrote being a steward of the world means “not only to conserve the resources this planet has…[but] to take part in modern environmentalism and activism, to pass and lobby for legislation to help the environment, and to remember how much the world needs our aid to stay the beautiful place …it is today.” Reminiscing about her trip to Israel last summer Emily said, “planting a tree to give back to my homeland was very powerful….I felt like I had finally made a difference, no matter how small.”

In the Junior High School (7th and 8th grade) division, the winners were Levi Goodman and Avi Mattlinsky. Each received a $100 award. Both are 8th Grade students at Rockwern Academy. In citing Genesis 1:28, Levi stated that although God gives dominion “over every living thing that moves upon the Earth, a ruler’s responsibility is to take care of his or her people.

Humanity still has this responsibility to this day.” Avi states that the environment is “super important [as] the Earth is a little sibling because God formed one human from the dust of the earth. …and blew into the human’s nostrils the breath of life….We humans were made from the earth. That creates a deeper connection between us” (Genesis 2:7).

While as a 6th Grader at Rockwern Middle School Academy Achinoam Maggid did not qualify in the Junior High division of the contest, the outstanding essay was recognized with a special $50 award. In the conclusion of the essay Archinoam states, “I think young people are the future and we need to help the adults change their ways and do more for the planet we call home.”

Shomrei Olam, the only Jewish nonprofit organization in our region focused entirely on the environment, encouraging members of the Jewish community, young and old, to be good stewards of the earth. In addition to the Essay Contest, Shomrei Olam has held workshops providing information on improving energy efficiency in our community buildings, helped the Mill Creek Alliance remove invasive honeysuckle in the Mill Creek watershed, and is introducing a new program to help individuals reduce their carbon foot print.

Fri, June 14 2024 8 Sivan 5784