Berkeley Hillel Prize

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

The Berkeley Hillel Prize is an essay competition open to all UC Berkeley, SF State, and Stanford 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 by 11:59 p.m. on April 20, 2020. 

First Place: $2,500 

Second Place: $1,500 

Third Place: $1,000   

2020 Berkeley Hillel Prize Prompt:

“Tikkun” – fixing, like other Jewish values demands both external action in the world yet simultaneously inner action of the soul, the hard-work of developing and nurturing our moral and spiritual character which grounds and motivates us, and nudges us to be self-aware and mindful of others.

Moses Maimonides (1138-1204), one of Judaism’s greatest philosophers, articulates this nurturing of the outer and inner moral dimensions.

“The Torah as a whole aims… at the repair of the soul (tikkun ha-nefesh) and repair of the body (tikkun ha-guf)

…..this repair of the body comes about by improving the ways we live together……the abolition of wrong-doing to each other…..not to have every individual acting according to their will by pushing the limits of their power but by doing what is beneficial to the whole.

(It also)…consists in every individual cultivating personal moral qualities that are good for life in society so that the needs of the community may be fulfilled.  

(Guide of the Perplexed III 27)

How will your choices of study and the courses you take empower you in your “professional life” preparing you to be responsible for both the ‘Tikkun’ needed for your inner growth and in our ever fractured world?


Read the 2019 Entrees HERE


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