Keren Or (Ray of Light) Announces 2023 Winners Of Creative Arts Contest

Keren Or (Ray of Light), a program of Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council, is a creative arts contest for Jewish youth. Minnesota Jewish students in grades 7-12 are invited to submit original poetry, creative prose, and photographs. 

Keren Or was founded in 2004 by Jerry and Eileen Siegel (z’’l) to honor the memory of their daughter, Karen Siegel-Jacobs. Siegel-Jacobs grew up in Minneapolis and attended the Minneapolis Talmud Torah. She was an active member of Adath Jeshurun Congregation and USY and as a teenager wrote poems and short stories.

“Keren Or is a unique contest for teens, creating opportunities to explore creativity and sharing with the community a window into their personal lives,” said Robyn Awend, executive director of Rimon. “The work is powerful and thoughtful, steeped in narrative, complexity, and beauty. Each year we engage jurors from the local arts community to award prizes in each age category.”

Prizes in each category are awarded to two separate groups: students in grades 7-9 and grades 10-12. The prizes are $100 for first place, $50 for second and third places, and $36 for Honorable Mention. Over 150 teens have won prizes since the contest began nineteen years ago. Look out for more Keren Or publicity in the days to come!

“I applaud every one of the Keren Or contributors; it wasn’t easy choosing the winners,” said one of this year’s Keren Or judges. “It was a real privilege to experience their work and get to see the world through their eyes.”


7-9 Grade Winners


1st Place: Isa Melendez, “Feathers

2nd Place: Dahlia Cohen, “Roman Glow

3rd Place: Jesse Posada, “Deep Sky

Honorable Mention: Daphne Slager, “Concrete Jungle

Honorable Mention: Shaindy Spiro, “Sunset

Honorable Mention: Lena Spirn, “Self Portrait 2



1st Place: Revaya Davis, “Flying Free

2nd Place: Eliora Estrin, “Butterflies in the Sun

3rd Place: Leah Smith, “Some Moments

Honorable Mention: Daphne Slager, “LIGHT

Honorable Mention: Eliora Estrin, “Waiting

Honorable Mention: Revaya Davis, “Two Lonely Geese



1st Place: Daphne Slager, “Earth That Twinkles

2nd Place: Isaac Broderius, “The Family Craft

3rd Place (tied): Lena Spirn, “That Horrible Feeling

3rd Place (tied): Shaindy Spiro, “Flying Free


10-12 Grade Winners


1st Place: Malachai Gross, “Scale

2nd Place: Eliah Fink, “Blurple

3rd Place: Batsheva Fried, “Running

Honorable Mention: Miriam Kvasnik, “Unclear

Honorable Mention: Olivia Zucker, “Raccoon Island

Honorable Mention: Isaac Hoffman, “Night and Day



1st Place: Amelia Wise, “An Ode to Abandonment

2nd Place: Aida Weiss, “Fingerprints

3rd Place: Etty Last, “They, My Home

Honorable Mention: Etty Last, “Mirror

Honorable Mention: Aida Weiss, “Where Do You Go

Honorable Mention: Amelia Wise, “On Poetry and Lying



1st Place: Jonathan Cohen, “The Lies I Tell

2nd Place: Etty Last, “A Darker Side

3rd Place: Malachai Gross, “Against All Odds

Honorable Mention: Dahlia Herman, “With A Spin of Globe

Honorable Mention: Jonathan Cohen, “The Warning

Honorable Mention: Etty Last, “The Puzzle