RPF Grantee

American Jewish Historical Society

  • Project

    Emma Lazarus Poetry Contest

  • Program Area

    Applying Jewish Wisdom /

    Next Generation /

    Social Justice

  • Year

    2019

  • Amount

    $50,000

  • Description

    “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” The New Colossus, the poem affixed to the Statue of Liberty, was written by Jewish American poet and activist Emma Lazarus in 1883, but its inclusive message is as resonant as ever. That’s why the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS)—the organization which preserves Lazarus’ papers—has launched a curriculum and poetry contest to teach the next generation about the poem and its underlying Jewish values. With support from RPF, AJHS will partner with contemporary poets and poetry organizations to ask students and adults, “If you could write a poem for the Statue of Liberty today, what would it say?” Submissions will be featured at public programs this fall.

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