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Shabbat Design Challenge

This contest is now closed


Candles, wine, and challah. These are objects traditionally associated with Shabbat, but what other new and innovative designs can help us remember, observe, and delight in the Sabbath? In this new design challenge for students at formal and informal Jewish educational settings, students will reflect on the themes of Shabbat and their personal Shabbat practices, and create books, works of art, or new objects that enliven ideas around Shabbat.

Congratulations To The Participating Schools
  • The Brandeis School Of San Francisco
  • Yavneh Day School, Los Gatos
  • Contra Costa Jewish Day School
  • Contra Costa Midrasha
  • Berkeley/Oakland Midrasha
  • Edah, Berkeley
  • Congregation Beth El, Berkeley
Kindergarten–2nd Grade
3rd Grade–5th Grade
6th Grade–9th Grade
prose entries

Some students submitted stories or poems instead of (or in addition to) artwork. Click the links below to read the prose entries.

Video entries

Click below to view links to entries that celebrated Shabbat through video!

about the challenge

A Winterlong Bay Area Shabbat Celebration

The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) in partnership with Jewish LearningWorks is pleased to announce the first Bay Area Student Shabbat Design Challenge.

Students from preschool through high school, from any formal or informal Jewish educational setting, were invited to create stories or objects to represent innovative and imaginative ways of exploring Shabbat.

This project sparks ideas to empower young people to consider the time spent during Shabbat as separate from their daily lives—and remind us to: observe, dignify, remember, and delight.


This design challenge asks students to create original works of art that explore Shabbat. Students are encouraged to look beyond traditional Judaica and investigate ideas of time and space as separate from their everyday lives.

All submissions will be on digital display on The CJM's website, and select artworks will be on view at  Family ArtBash Sunday on January 28, 2018, 10am–3pm, as well as at the Jewish Community Library from February 1-18,  and the JCCSF Second Fridays Event on February 9 at 4:30pm.

how to submit

1. Students create a story or original work of art and write an artist’s statement, including information about the process and the connection to Shabbat. (See resources below for ideas and inspiration.)

2. Teacher photographs student art and saves each file as <firstname_lastname_school>.

3.  Teacher fills out online entry form.

4. Teacher receives email with instructions for submitting digital photo files and student information.

5. Teacher shares permission form with parents for parent approval.

6. Parent submits permission slip to or by mail to:

The Contemporary Jewish Museum, attn: Shabbat Design Challenge
736 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

7. Eighteen projects will be selected for physical display. All submissions will be on digital display at Family ArtBash Sunday on January 28, 2018, 10am–3pm at The CJM.


Get your students started with this downloadable worksheet, which includes discussion questions around Shabbat and a template for brainstorming.

Resources on shabbat

View or download these resources for your own background information or for older students. Resources include passages from the Torah, quotes from Abraham Joshua Heschel’s The Sabbath (1951) and "The Toil and Hope of Shabbat," an essay on Shabbat by Rani Jaeger from the Sabbath exhibition catalog.

artmaking ideas


Students may create a story, poem, or illustrated book exploring the concept of Shabbat. Individual and class books will be acceptable submissions. A grade-by-grade resource for simple bookmaking techniques is

Fabric Art

Using fabric, sewing materials, and notions, students may create a work of art that can be used ritually or hung. For further resources, please see:

Mixed Media Collage

Students may explore concepts around Shabbat through mixed media: cardboard, found objects, patterned papers, magazine cutouts, old letters, photographs, keys, beads, string, etc.  For further resources, please see:


Teachers are encouraged to bring their students on a guided tour of the Sabbath: The 2017 Dorothy Saxe Invitational to view how artists of varying backgrounds view the Sabbath through a multitude of media. Tours are FREE for all K-12 students, and are available Sunday mornings as well as weekdays.

Book online at or call 415.655.7857.


School and Teacher Programs are made possible by Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Leadership support comes from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and The Lisa and John Pritzker Family Fund. Patron support is provided by the The Bavar Family Foundation. Additional generous support is provided by the Robert & Toni Bader Charitable Foundation, Norman Berkman, the Mimi and Peter Haas Fund, the Toole Family Charitable Foundation, and the Ullendorff Memorial Foundation.