Elie Wiesel Competition 2020

September 4, 2020

Other News

The arrival of the novel coronavirus brought many unexpected changes. One area that was not changed, however, was the amount of and timing of the entries for United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Holocaust Commission’s Elie Wiesel Competition. The deadline was just prior to the pandemic closing the doors of schools and businesses, sending many to work and learn from home.

This year saw more than 1,600 total entries, stretching from eight states around the country—from Florida to New Jersey, North Carolina, and California. The students in the written competitions had their work judged in a traditional timeframe, as they are always the first on the judging docket. That judging, conducted by area writers and educators, took place literally just as the doors to places of business were closing to the public. The multimedia entrants waited a little longer, as their pieces were adapted to be judged virtually. Visual art is more difficult to judge online, so those entrants and their teachers waited patiently for the Sandler Family Campus to reopen and allow the judges’ schedules inside. Judging finally took place in July and winners received a nice summer surprise.

Competition chairs and judges were impressed by the depth, creativity, and passion that spoke volumes in the submissions. As always, choosing the winners and art show pieces was incredibly difficult.

Since the annual traditional art show, where the winners are highlighted at the Sandler Family Campus for a month, could not take place, the Commission created a Virtual Art Show, including the winners and other notable pieces. The show may be found on the Holocaust Commission website.

Unfortunately, the Commission’s annual Yom Hashoah commemoration event was canceled to protect the safety of the survivors, students and their families and friends, and the community. While the students’ remarkable work and achievements were not celebrated in-person, the winners’ work is available on the website to view from anywhere at anytime. In addition to the visual art, the winning essays and poems created by the honored students are available to read at https://holocaustcommission.jewishva.org/home-page/elie-wiesel.

The Holocaust Commission is adapting its programs for virtual learning. For more information about Holocaust Commission programs, visit www.holocaustcommission.org, call 757-965-6100, or email info@holocaustcommission.org.

- Micaela Procopio

Letter to the Editor