Celebrating Jewish Youth Showcase 2024

Introducing the Celebrating Jewish Youth Showcase 2024: A Platform for Creativity, Identity, and Community

The Charlotte Jewish News is proud to announce the inaugural Celebrating Jewish Youth Showcase, an exciting initiative designed to provide a platform for Jewish teens to explore, express, and celebrate their identity through creative endeavors. This showcase invites participants in grades 8-12 to submit original works in three categories: Essay, Photography, and Podcast, responding to the theme “How do you celebrate your Jewish identity?”

We believe that the teen years are a crucial time for fostering a strong sense of Jewish identity and connection to the community. By offering a space for creative self-expression and recognition, we aim to empower our youth, amplify their voices, and showcase the diversity of their experiences. This initiative not only celebrates their present moments but also seeks to strengthen their Jewish identity as they journey into adulthood.

The submission timeframe is between August 1-September 16. Online submission forms and more information will be available soon — but no reason to wait! Here’s some information to get you started now. 

For addition questions, email [email protected].


Benefits to Students

Participating in the Celebrating Jewish Youth Showcase offers numerous benefits for students:

  1. Recognition and Publication: Winners in all categories will be announced in the December special issue of the Charlotte Jewish News, titled “Celebrating Jewish Youth.” The winning essay and photograph will be prominently featured in the print publication, while a QR code will direct readers to the showcase website to listen to the winning podcast episode.
  2. Digital Showcase: Beyond the print publication, all qualified entries will be showcased on a dedicated page on the Charlotte Jewish News website. This digital platform will serve as a comprehensive exhibit of our youth’s creativity, allowing their work to reach a wider audience and providing a lasting testament to their artistic expressions.
  3. Prizes: Winners in each category will receive a $100 Amazon Gift Card as a token of recognition for their outstanding contributions.
  4. Personal Growth and Development: The process of creating and submitting work for the showcase encourages introspection, self-expression, and the development of artistic skills. It provides a platform for students to explore their identity, hone their talents, and build confidence in their abilities.
  5. Resume and College Application Enhancement: Participation in the Celebrating Jewish Youth Showcase is a noteworthy achievement that can enrich students’ resumes and college applications. It demonstrates their engagement with their heritage, their commitment to personal growth, and their ability to communicate effectively through various media.
  6. Inspiring Others: By sharing their unique perspectives and experiences, students have the power to inspire and resonate with others in the community. Their creative expressions can spark meaningful conversations, foster understanding, and contribute to a vibrant and inclusive Jewish community.

Submission Guidelines

We will officially be accepting submissions between August 1-September 16. The deadline is September 16 at 5 p.m. 

Students may submit one entry per category.

The following is submission information for each category.

Essay Category

This category invites essays that delve into personal viewpoints, cultural insights, or reflective thoughts. It is a chance for writers to provide in-depth analysis or narratives in a structured format, expressing their thoughts and perspectives on a range of topics.

Description and Instructions for Contestants: Essays should provide personal viewpoints, cultural insights, or reflective thoughts on the theme “How do you celebrate your Jewish identity?” Entries should aim for in-depth analysis or narrative storytelling, expressing thoughts and perspectives on topics related to Jewish culture, identity, experiences, or values. Essays must be original, unpublished work, 500-1000 words in length.


    • Content and Theme (40 points): Relevance to the theme, depth of insight, originality of ideas, and the ability to inspire or engage the reader.
    • Organization and Structure (20 points): Clear introduction, body, and conclusion; logical progression of ideas; coherence in argument or narrative.
    • Style and Voice (20 points): Distinctive voice, appropriate tone for the subject matter, and creativity in expression.
    • Grammar and Mechanics (20 points): Correct use of grammar, punctuation, and spelling; readability and flow.
  • See below for AI Policy
Photography Category

This category captures the essence of photography in various forms, including black and white, color, digital, film, or experimental. It’s an opportunity for participants to showcase their skills in composition, lighting, and moment capture, reflecting their unique perspectives through the lens.

Description and Instructions for Contestants: Submissions can include black and white, color, digital, film, or experimental photography that captures moments, emotions, or narratives reflecting the theme “How do you celebrate your Jewish identity?” Photographs should tell a story or convey a message that resonates with Jewish culture or personal experience. Entries must be original and accompanied by a brief description (50-100 words) of the photograph’s context and its relation to Jewish identity.


        • Thematic Expression (40 points): The ability of the photograph to convey the theme, emotional impact, and storytelling through visual means.
        • Technical Quality (30 points): Composition, lighting, focus, and use of color or contrast where applicable.
        • Creativity and Originality (20 points): Unique perspective, innovative approach, or artistic interpretation.
        • Contextual Description (10 points): Clarity and relevance of the accompanying description in relation to the theme.
See below for AI Policy.
Podcast Category

In this category participants can submit podcast episodes featuring storytelling, interviews, educational content, or discussions. It’s a space for audio creators to engage audiences with content that resonates with Jewish youth or broader themes, focusing on content quality and audience connection.

Description and Instructions for Contestants: Participants can submit podcast episodes (up to 15 minutes) featuring storytelling, interviews, educational content, or discussions centered on the theme “How do you celebrate your Jewish identity?” Podcasts should engage audiences with content that not only reflects personal or collective Jewish experiences but also fosters connection and understanding. Entries must be original and include a brief written summary (100-150 words) of the episode’s content and themes.

Note: In this category, two students can collaborate and submit an entry together. 


  • Content Relevance and Engagement (40 points): Alignment with the theme, ability to captivate and maintain audience interest, quality of content.
  • Production Quality (30 points): Clarity of audio, effective use of editing, sound balancing, and any music or sound effects.
  • Creativity and Presentation (20 points): Originality of the concept, effectiveness of storytelling or discussion format, use of narrative devices or interviews.
  • Summary Description (10 points): The written summary’s effectiveness in conveying the podcast’s themes and relevance to the theme.

AI Policy

In embracing the evolving landscape of technology and creativity, the “Celebrating Jewish Youth” showcase acknowledges the significant role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the modern creative process. As we integrate AI into our artistic and educational practices, it’s imperative to establish guidelines that foster responsible and ethical use of AI, while preserving the authenticity and originality of each participant’s work. The guidelines provided aim to help participants navigate the use of AI as a tool for enhancement, not replacement, in their creative endeavors. They are designed to encourage AI literacy and critical thinking, ensuring that submissions reflect the genuine talent and perspective of our youth, amidst the realities and possibilities of AI in the arts. This approach seeks to balance the innovative potential of AI with the core values of personal creativity and expression, vital in celebrating the unique identity of Jewish youth today.

  1. Role of AI: AI should be utilized as a supplementary tool in the creative process. It can assist with idea generation, technical enhancement, or refining work but should not replace personal creativity and expression.
  2. Originality and Ownership: Participants are required to be the primary creators of their submissions. AI can aid the creative process, but the central concept and the majority of the work must originate from the student.
  3. AI Disclosure: On the submission form, participants must disclose how they have used AI. This includes specifying what aspects of their work were AI-assisted or AI-generated.
  4. Ethical Use of AI: Participants should be aware of and consider the ethical implications of using AI, including data privacy, algorithmic bias, and intellectual property issues.
  5. Limitations on AI Contribution: In line with current high school guidelines, no more than 30% of the content should be AI-generated or AI-assisted. The majority of the work should be a direct product of the participant’s own creativity.
  6. Reflecting on AI’s Contribution: Participants should reflect on how AI tools contributed to their project and what they learned from incorporating these tools.
  7. Critical Evaluation of AI Content: Participants should critically evaluate the appropriateness and quality of AI-generated content, making informed decisions about its inclusion in their work.