The Conspiracy

ANNOUNCING: New Voices’ First Ever Essay Contest


We’re proud to announce our first ever Middle School/High School Israel Essay Contest.

Every summer, thousands of high schoolers pile onto tour buses to traipse around the Holy Land. Some travelers return home spiritually awakened, others with a new view of Israel’s political climate. They come back full of ideas, angst and passion. And New Voices wants to hear all about it – and give our readers an inside view of those experiences.

We want students to explain how they would finish the following sentence: “The Thing They Don’t Tell You About Israel Is….” The essay should explore something unexpected you saw, learned, experienced, questioned, etc. on your trip to Israel. Think about ways in which Israel defied your expectations. You might consider some of the following things:

  • What no one told you about Israel (but that perhaps you wish they had)
  • Something that surprised you about the people there (Jewish Israelis, Arab Israelis, Palestinians, other students or tourists)
  • Surprising elements of the daily life in Israel that you saw
  • A realization about Israeli art, music, politics and/or pop culture

Your essay should focus on a personal experience of Israel that went beyond what you learned in Sunday school, day school, youth group — and any other formal Jewish educational programs you may have been a part of.

Plus we’re giving away $100, $75 and $50 gift cards to the top three winners.


See below for our FAQs about the contest.

What is the New Voices Israel Essay Contest?   

A new contest for students in grades 8-12 to talk about their experiences in Israel and win a gift card at The winning entries, three prize winners and three honorable mentions, will be published on our website in mid-May.

Who can submit entries?

Anyone enrolled in grades 8-12 who has been on an Israel trip. (Note: this is a change from our earlier rule) We do not care whether you went with your family, synagogue, youth group, summer camp or a non-profit group. We are looking for participants interested in writing about their experience in a smart, creative and analytical manner.

What are the prizes?

The top three entries will receive $100, $75 and $50 gift cards at

What is the deadline for submitting my essay?

May 3,2013 at 3p.m. All entries must be submitted to

Who’s judging this thing anyway?

Your essays will be read by the watchful eyes of New Voices editor David A.M. Wilensky, JTA Israel Correspondent (and former New Voices editor) Ben Sales and a soon-to-be-announced panelist.





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