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CT kids Chai-ku about the future

HHNE chai-ku

HHNE Chai-ku winners: (l to r) Kiarra Austin, Linor Ben-Naim, and Ilan Small.

Last fall the Aim Chai Endowment Campaign – a community-wide endowment campaign that is a collaboration of close to 30 Jewish agencies, organizations, schools and synagogues, partnering together to endow and sustain Jewish Hartford in perpetuity, invited students from throughout Greater Hartford to write a poem. And not just any poem, but a “Chai-ku” – a Jewish take on the Japanese poetic form known as Haiku, in which writers express their visions for the community in 18 words or less. It became clear from the poems that poured in that the kids seized upon the Chai-ku challenge as an opportunity to voice their hopes for the future. The competition’s panel of judges, impressed by the high level of ingenuity, creativity and originality of the submissions, had a tough time selecting the winning Chai-kus, which are included below. For more information about the Aim Chai Endowment Campaign visit

In the ages 7 and under category:

First Place
Jeremy Eisen, age 7,
Solomon Schechter Day School (SSDS)
You should always be safe,
make friends, respect others,
and always be kind.

Second Place
Lily Temkin and Maddie Shani,
both age 7, SSDS
Friends play together forever and ever,
stay safe forever and ever,
and be friends forever and ever.

Third place
Alex Patt, age 7, SSDS
It should be that you should share
and be nice
whenever you see somebody.

In the ages 8-12 years category:

First Place
Ariel Gordon, age 12, SSDS
Kindness, community,
and having faith in G-d
These are the foundations
Remember these things/
Improve Greater Hartford.

Second Place
Liya Simon, age 11,
Adath Israel Synagogue, Middletown
Beautiful songs/Intertwined voices/Raised in harmony/m Unraveling ribbons/Of shining notes/Hanging in the air/ Synagogue services.

Third Place
Jamie Cowan, age 12, SSDS
Happiness all around and peace in the air.
Children of all races playing
in perfect harmony as one.

In the ages 13-17 category:

First Place
Ilan Small, age 16, Hebrew High School
of New England (HHNE)
A thriving mixture of beliefs:
genuine, tolerant, peaceful.
Sun shining through the stained glass.
Kaleidoscope colors, true diversity.

Second Place
Kiarra Austin, age 16, HHNE
A place where people don’t have to
walk around with masks on, 
pretending to be something that they aren’t.

Third Place
Linor Ben-Naim, age 15, HHNE
A community where you’re accepted
A community where nobody is judged
A community where you belong
My community.

CAP: SSDS Chai-ku winners: (front row, l to r) Alex Patt, Jeremy Eisen, Madeline Shani, Lily Temkin; (back row, l to r) Ariel Gordon and Jamie Cowan. With the children are (l to r) Michael Johnston, president/CEO, Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford; Howard Sovronsky, president/CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford; and Andrea Kasper, SSDS head of school.

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