Announcing The Gathering Essay Competition

TheGathering1CBS is delighted to announce an exciting cultural and learning opportunity for families in our community!

Playwright Arje Shaw is generously sponsoring an essay writing competition for CBS teenagers (at or around b'nai mitzvah age). Shaw invites teens who are interested in participating to attend his critically-acclaimed play, The Gathering, during its upcoming run at The Live Oak Theatre in Berkeley (July 21 - August 20, 2016).

After watching the play, participants should write an essay (1,000 - 1,500 words) about how practicing remembrance and tolerance can improve the future for all people. This essay should be composed in conversation/collaboration with parents and other family members.

TheGathering2Although The Gathering deals with the Shoah, the teenage essayists will present their compositions to the congregation during Sukkot 5777 (October 17-18, 2016). Why Sukkot instead of, say, Yom HaShoah? Shaw hopes the process of writing the essay will prompt the participating teens to thoughtfully consider their heritage and how best to honor it (l'dor v'dor, from generation to generation), and the mystical tradition of inviting ushpizin, ancestral "guests," into the sukkah to share space with us is pertinent.

Following the public presentation of the essays, Rabbi Glazer will announce which of the entries he and a committee of CBS member judges deems most resonant. Shaw will make a $1,000 donation to CBS in the author's name.

Shaw notes that The Gathering wasn't written just for himself. It is, as he puts it, "an expression of neshamah, a soulful thank you to my parents for all their sacrifices to rebuild their lives in securing a future for their children. We all have had people in our lives who made that happen, and The Gathering is a tribute to them."

We think that Shaw's essay competition will provide some of our CBS teens with their own opportunity to offer such a tribute.

Photo credits: The Gathering production photos by