Berkeley Hillel Prize

The Berkeley Hillel Prize: Berkeley Hillel’s First Annual Essay Competition

The Berkeley Hillel Prize is an essay competition open to all UC Berkeley students.  All pieces will be read by a group of UC Berkeley professors, peers and Hillel staff.  Essays will be judged based on creativity,  quality of writing, and interest in the piece.  Pieces must be at between 750 and 1,000 words and submitted on the Berkeley Hillel website.

Dates:  Essays must be submitted by Monday morning, February 4th


  • 1st prize $2,500
  • 2nd Prize $1,500
  • 3rd Prize $1,000

All winners will be announced in March at a celebratory Shabbat dinner and all submissions will be distributed in a booklet and published online.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote in God in Search of Man, “Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion—its message becomes meaningless.”

Rabbi Heschel speaks to the struggle of finding a way to connect to religion in our lives today.  Please respond to the following prompt:

Describe your Jewish Quest.


Thank you for inquiring about the Berkeley Hillel Prize. Unfortunately the deadline for submission has past. We hope you will submit a piece of work next year. Thank You