Joint Orthodox Forum-Kol Hamevaser Student Essay Contest

Dear YU Students,
In anticipation of the 2013 Orthodox Forum on the theme “From Fervor to Fanaticism,” the Orthodox Forum and Kol Hamevaser, the Jewish Thought Magazine of the Yeshiva University Student Body, are pleased to announce a new student essay contest. Undergraduate and graduate students of Yeshiva University are invited to submit essays or op-eds (see for more details on writing standards) or full-length papers (15-20 pages) on the themes of fervor and/or fanaticism in Jewish tradition and history. The particular angle is within the writers’ discretion; papers on education, history, philosophy, Halakhah, and Tanakh are all welcome. See below for conference overview.

The contest will be administered and judged by the editorial board of Kol Hamevaser, under the direction of Rabbi Shmuel Hain, this year’s Forum chair. The papers will be received, judged, edited, and winners selected, all on an anonymous basis. Authors of the three best full-length papers (15-20 pages) will be invited to attend the Forum on March 3-4, as will the students who submit the top selections among the shorter essays. All quality essays and papers will be published online. The essays can be submitted to a future issue of Kol Hamevaser, if the author wishes, and the first-place winner among the full-length papers will have the paper distributed to all Forum participants for discussion and considered for inclusion in the Forum volume emerging from the conference.

All submissions are due by February 15, 2013. Please email submissions, or direct additional questions, to: Please do not include your name anywhere on the submission file itself. Thank you and we’re looking forward to your submissions!

Rabbi Shmuel Hain and the KHM Editors

Orthodox Forum 2013
Theme: “From Fervor to Fanaticism”
One of the chief challenges confronting all citizens and religions in the 21st century is the rise of extremism and fanaticism. As Orthodox Jews who are dedicated to promoting religious passion, the line separating fervor from fanaticism can be thin and subjective.  How do we articulate a theology of fervor without fanaticism for the Modern Orthodox community?

This year’s Orthodox Forum will convene and produce interdisciplinary academic and religious perspectives on fervor and fanaticism by surveying the intellectual history of zeal and zealotry in Judaism, and by examining the sociological, psychological, historical, and theological factors which contribute to a climate of increased extremism in our community and other religious communities. The Forum will also explore in-depth the contemporary perceptions and manifestations of extremism in the Orthodox communities in Israel and America, and assess potential programmatic and educational responses to these phenomena.