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Megan's Muse Past Winners

Quick Links: Megan's Muse Home · Past Winners · About Megan

2018 - Jordana Sweeney
2017 - Gabi Shapo
2016 - Isaac Stern
2015 - Jacob Biderman
2014 - Allison Richards
2013 - Ethan Cohen
2012 - Geena May, Jeffrey Weinberg
2011 - Sophie Isakowitz
2010 - Jake Hirsch

2009 - Billy Baker
2008 - Civia Stein
2007 - Matthew Mihal
2006 - Rachel Cohen
2005 - Allie Hirsch
2004 - Michelle Levine
2003 - Jeremy Greenberg
2002 - Sharon Levine
2001 - Saul Dorfman

Theme 2018

Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. ....get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed. 
-- Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

2018 Megan's Muse First Place Winner

The Fairy House of Radical Amazement

“Our goal should be to live in radical amazement…get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.”  - Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heshel

When thinking about this quote and looking for inspiration for this project, I was walking in the woods behind my house. As I watched the people walking by on the path, many looking down at screens and many talking on their phones, I realized how we often take the beautiful things that God has created for us for granted. I thought about how I could take these gifts and make them even more special, so that people would stop and notice and maybe even connect with each other in a different way. I thought about adding something to the woods that would give others a moment of radical amazement, as they stop and look around them and appreciate the beauty of nature and the kindness of other people.

I had watched a documentary about fairy houses—small, colorful houses that people often create in the bottom of old trees—and decided to find a spot to create one behind my house. Using wood, paint, and some doll furniture, as well as some carpentry help from my dad, I was able to take something normal and ordinary that people might walk by every day and make it into an opportunity for them to stop and smile. I left a small bag with sticky notes and a pencil and I have had my own moments of amazement as I have checked back to find sweet notes written by people of all ages, which you can find here—these are after just a few days after building the house. I plan to create more houses to add to my fairy village, and to create more moments of radical amazement for my community and for myself.

The Fairy House of Radical Amazement — Jordana Sweeney

Theme 2017

Then the Lord said to Moses. “Why do you cry out to Me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. And you lift up your rod and hold out your arm over the sea and split it, so that the Israelites may march into the sea on dry ground.”  
-- Exodus 14:15-16

Rabbi Judah said to [Rabbi Meir], "This is not what happened, rather, this [tribe] said, 'I will not be the first to go down to the sea,' and this one said, 'I will not be the first to go down to the sea.' (Hosea 12:1) Then Nachshon ben Aminadav sprang forward and went down first to the sea. As Psalm 114:3 says, 'The sea saw [him], and fled.'"
-- Sotah 36B-37A

2017 Megan's Muse First Place Winner

The Ripple Effect:  What Does it Mean to be Brave?

Imagine your biggest fear.  A fear that surrounds you like a black hole swallowing a planet; like a starving vulture devouring a rodent.  Imagine immersing yourself in this fear by choice – for the unlikely, uncertain hope of saving others.  Would you do it?

Nahshon did.

His fear of water exhausted his thoughts until the quiet hours of night slowly crept to morning.  His wishes consisted only of escaping from what is clear and calm, yet corrosive.  When faced with his most immense fear as the Red Sea refused to split, he took the risk of his life for the sake of others.

Nahshon is brave.

This stream of water flowing over parting rocks represents Nahshon’s bravery.  Just as the water flows from its origin to the rocks below it, Nahshon’s bold character flows into each generation of Jews, provoking the bravery in us all.

Don't see video above? View it on YouTube

The Ripple Effect — Gabi Shapo


2017 Megan's Muse Honorable Mention

Red Sea Word Cloud

Red Sea Word Cloud — Seth Richards

Theme 2016

Blessed Is The Match
(Serdice Yugoslavia May 1944)

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.
Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.
Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating for honor's sake.
Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

                                                                          --Hannah Senesh

2016 Megan's Muse First Place Winner

A Fire in My Heart — Isaac Stern

2016 Megan's Muse Second Place Winner

The Night’s Battles

She pulled back her knotted hair
Handful of curls at a time
Wrapping their way around her battered knuckles
Twisted back into a bun
She was a warrior
A term she used loosely describing herself
This war was one she couldn’t win
And she knew it
But she didn’t stop trying
Each day she pressed on harder than the one before
Fighting the one evil she saw

(read more)

The Night's Battles — Lila Schandler

Theme 2015

“Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit…” Zechariah 4:6

2015 Megan's Muse Winner

G-d, Man and Nature — Jacob Biderman

2015 Megan's Muse Runner-Up

Means of Judgement

We make judgements every second.
Consciously and unconsciously.
Justly and unjustly.
Quickly and slowly.
Based on look,
On prestige,
And on title.

As the sayings go,
We must "Not judge a book by its cover,"
For "Beauty is what is on the inside, not out."

Might and power lye on the outside.
Might and power are great, physical strengths and abilities.
Might and power are the cover a book,
And the face of a person.
Might and power are concepts by which we must not judge ourselves or others.

Upon what must we make judgements?
Upon spirit.

Spirit lies inside.
Spirit is essence, and character.
Spirit is the moral of a book,
And the heart of a person.
Upon spirit,
We must perceive ourselves and others.

Not by might, nor by power, but by spirit.

Means of Judgement — Jenna Kaufman

Tue, July 14 2020 22 Tammuz 5780