Positively! Zionism!

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MERCAZ, WLCJ,      & FJMC
Positively! Zionism!
Media Challenge

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Read and accept the Official Rules, enter the Challenge and win Israel Scholarships.

Contest opens 12:01 am, March 20, 2022

DEADLINE EXTENDED TO June 1, 2022

Sponsors: MERCAZ Canada, MERCAZ USA, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, and Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs.

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Positively! Zionism!

Zionism is the international movement dedicated to the creation and support of a Jewish national state in our ancient homeland Eretz Yisrael, aka Zion. The principles of Zionism are stated in the Jerusalem Program, the official platform of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and Zionist Movement.

According to the WZO, Zionism “views a Jewish, Zionist, democratic, and secure State of Israel to be the expression of the common responsibility of the Jewish people for its continuity and future.”
According to the Jerusalem Program, set by the Zionist Congress and World Zionist Organization, the foundations of Zionism are:

  • The unity of the Jewish people, its bond to its historic homeland, Eretz Yisrael, and the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital, in the life of the nation.
  • Aliyah to Israel from all countries and the effective integration of all immigrants into Israeli society.
  • Strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state, and shaping it as an exemplary society with a unique moral and spiritual character, marked by mutual respect for the multi-faceted Jewish people rooted in the vision of the prophets, striving for peace and contributing to the betterment of the world.
  • Ensuring the future and the distinctiveness of the Jewish People by furthering Jewish, Hebrew and Zionist education, fostering spiritual and cultural values and teaching Hebrew as the national language.
  • Nurturing mutual Jewish responsibility, defending the rights of Jews as individuals and as a nation, representing the national Zionist interests of the Jewish people, and struggling against all manifestations of anti-Semitism.
  • Settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism.

Background: 

As Jews, we love Israel and take great pride in her accomplishments. From the Diaspora, we appreciate that Israel is a Jewish State. Shabbat is the official ‘weekend.' Jewish holidays are national holidays, and it is Jewish culture that permeates the very air of the land. At the same time, we are aware of our physical separation from the state. Often, we are proud of Israel. At other times, we see statements and actions by the Israeli government and the Chief Rabbinate that limit the expression of Jewish religious freedom in the Jewish State or otherwise frustrate our religious or ethical sensibilities.
Israel is not like other countries. Israel, both as our historic, ancient homeland and as a modern state, continues to be vital to Judaism on a national scale and personally. Whereas citizens of the State have a say in day-to-day functioning and foreign and domestic policy, Israel also has a special connection to the worldwide Jewish community. As such, from its onset, it provided Jews around the world with a voice regarding Jewish communal issues through the Zionist Congress, World Zionist Organization, Jewish Agency, and Jewish National Fund.
The worldwide Masorti/Conservative Movement believes that Zionism requires the opportunity for Jews to have freedom of religious expression in and outside of Israel. Based on the ideals of tradition and tolerance, study and spirituality, and social action and love of Israel, we affirm our commitment to pluralism in Jewish religious life, ensuring Masorti/Conservative Jews feel free to practice Judaism equally with other denominations.
Though not required, you may wish to consider the background above along with the following questions:

  • Does Zionism change and evolve with new generations?
  • Does Zionism call for a reciprocal relationship between Israel and the Diaspora?
  • Do limitations or shortcomings within the State of Israel vis-à-vis religious freedom and/or social issues affect Zionism on the personal or national scale?

Awards: 

Scholarships may be applied to any Conservative Movement sponsored Israel program (including programs taking place from June 2022 onward). Scholarships may be saved for future trips.

Scholarships will be awarded in three categories: Video, Writing, Meme

  • Video First Prize $1000 USD, Second Prize $750 USD
  • Writing First Prize $1000 USD, Second Prize $750 USD
  • Meme Award $500 USD

Eligibility: 

Participants must submit their entries via the Challenge application on this website (link at bottom of this page). All applicants must be residents of North America (Canada, Mexico, or the United States), currently in grades 7 to12. One entry per category may be submitted. Participants can win only one category. In the case of one individual winning two categories, the larger scholarship will be awarded. By entering the Challenge, all participants agree to be bound by these rules and affirm that they meet the eligibility requirements. Participants agree to accept decisions of the Challenge judges as final and binding.

How to enter: 

Media Challenge Period: 

Entries will be accepted online beginning at 12:00 am EDT on March 20, 2022 and ending at 11:59:59 pm EDT on June 1, 2022. Late entries will not be accepted. Entry links and additional information can be found at www.masorti-mercaz.ca, www.mercazusa.org, www.wlcj.org, or www.fjmc.org.
Challenge Sponsors are not responsible for misdirected entries or problematic uploads. To be eligible to win a prize, entries must fulfill all Challenge requirements and criteria, as specified. You must provide all the information requested. Incomplete entries or entries that do not adhere to the rules or specifications may be disqualified at sole direction of the Sponsors.

Rules & Criteria: 

Participants may enter once per category. All entries should present a positive message about Israel or Zionism, additional points may be added for connections to Conservative/Masorti Judaism.
All entries must be the applicants’ new, original work and meet the criteria outlined below. Entries must be uploaded to the Media Challenge website. Any material deemed offensive, defamatory, dangerous, or misrepresentative will not be approved for entry into the Challenge.

Video

Prizes: $1000/$750 USD

Ten percent of each video entry’s final score will consist of online voting. These entries will be available for viewing and voting on the website May 1 – May 15. We encourage participants to share the Challenge website once the videos have been vetted to advocate for their entries using the tags #PositivelyZionism! #MasortiMatters

  • Videos should be 30-90 seconds in length. They should express a positive and compelling message of Zionism and reflect the Masorti/Conservative Movement’s values.
  • Videos may be submitted in English, French, Spanish, or Hebrew. Any entry not in English must be accompanied by English subtitles.
  • In the absence of properly obtained permission submitted with the video, only original images/music or images/music in the public domain may be included. Inappropriately included images or music will be disqualify an entry.

Writing

Prizes: $1000/$750 USD

Participants may enter once per category. All entries should present a positive message about Israel or Zionism, additional points may be added for connections to Conservative/Masorti Judaism. All entries must be the applicants’ new, original work and meet the criteria outlined below. Entries must be uploaded to the Media Challenge website. Any material deemed offensive, defamatory, dangerous, or misrepresentative will not be approved for entry into the Challenge.

  • Essays should address the idea Positively Zionism – What Does Zionism Mean to Me?
  • Written entries must be submitted as a standard letter-sized document (8.5x11 inches) in Word using 12-point regular font. Essays should be double-spaced, up to 1500 words.
  • Material must be properly cited. (Citations do not count towards the word count.)

Meme

Prize: $500 USD

Ten percent of each meme entry’s final score will consist of online voting. These entries will be available for viewing and voting on the website May 1 – May 15. We encourage participants to share the Challenge website once the videos have been vetted to advocate for their entries using the tags #PositivelyZionism! #MasortiMatters

  • Memes may be images, texts, or videos under 30 seconds in length. They should clearly express a positive and compelling message of Zionism and reflect the Masorti/Conservative Movement’s values.
  • Memes may be submitted in English, French, Spanish, or Hebrew. Any entry not in English must be accompanied by an English translation.
  • All memes must include a brief explanation, no more than one page in Word using double-spaced, 12-point regular font, of the intention of the meme.

Announcement of Winners

Winners will be notified by email by June 31, 2022 or earlier. Sponsor organizations shall have no liability for Winner’s failure to receive notices due to spam, junk e-mail, or other security settings or for incorrect or otherwise non-functioning contact information. If Winner(s) cannot be contacted or fails to claim the prize, the prize will be forfeited. Receipt by Winner(s) of the prize offered in this Challenge is conditioned upon compliance with any and all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Any violation of these rules, at the Sponsor’s discretion, will result in immediate disqualification.

Prizes

Winners will be selected in each category, as solely determined by the Sponsors. Winners will receive a scholarship for use for any Conservative Movement sponsored Israel program (including Israel programs taking place from June 2022 onward). Scholarships may be saved for future trips. Scholarships are non-transferable. Once registered for a Conservative Movement Program [programs run through the Conservative/Masorti Movement and its affiliates, Conservative synagogues or Movement affiliated schools] winners will contact the MERCAZ USA office to receive the scholarship. At the discretion of the Sponsors, scholarships will be paid directly to the programs or paid to the winner.
Any and all prize-related expenses, including without limitation any and all federal, state, and/or local taxes, shall be the sole responsibility of Winner. No substitution of prize or transfer/assignment of prize to others or request for the cash equivalent by Winner is permitted.
The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.

Rights Granted By You

By entering, participants understand and agree that the Sponsors, anyone acting on behalf of the Sponsors, and Sponsor’s licensees, successors, and assigns, shall have the right, where permitted by law, to print, publish, broadcast, distribute, and use in any media now known or hereafter developed, in perpetuity and throughout the World, without limitation, your entry, name, portrait, picture, voice, likeness, image, statements about the Challenge, and biographical information for news, publicity, information, trade, advertising, public relations, and promotional purposes without any further compensation, notice, review, or consent. By entering this content in the Challenge, You represent and warrant that your entry is an original work of authorship, and does not violate any third party’s proprietary or intellectual property rights. If your entry infringes upon the intellectual property right of another, you will be disqualified at the sole discretion of the Sponsors.

Terms & Conditions

Sponsors reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Challenge if necessary. In such case, Sponsors may select the Winner(s) from all eligible entries received prior to any such interruption. Sponsors reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the Challenge or website. Sponsors have the right, in their sole discretion, to maintain the integrity of the Challenge, to void submission for any reason, including, but not limited to noncompliance with Challenge rules and content criteria. The Challenge is subject to all applicable federal, provincial/state, and local laws and regulations.