Nathan Schachter, UConn sophomore reflects on his experience as a member of the selection committee for the 2nd Annual Jewish Playwriting Contest.
“I was immersed in the conversations among the committee that came out of these readings, as we discussed what worked, what didn’t, which plays were our favorites, and why. Being the only student on the committee, it was interesting to hear what the other members, who had much more maturity, life and wisdom on me, both artistically and Jewishly, had to say on the topic” – Nathan Schachter
This past February, I had the opportunity to sit on the selection committee for the 2nd Annual Hartford Jewish Playwriting Contest. The selection committee included community members at Charter Oak Cultural Center and UConn’s Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. We selected 3 plays from a pool of 10 that we wanted to see continue on to the next round.  I was asked by Professor Jeffrey Shoulson of the Center for Judaic Studies to sit on this committee, and I am extremely fortunate to have done so.
Throughout the process, of selecting the top three plays, it was eye-opening to see the amount of new Jewish work that is being produced around us today. In reading the plays I was assigned to read, I was challenged to think about what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century. I was immersed in the conversations among the committee that came out of these readings, as we discussed what worked, what didn’t, which plays were our favorites, and why. Being the only student on the committee, it was interesting to hear what the other members, who had much more maturity, life and wisdom on me, both artistically and Jewishly, had to say on the topic.
On February 16, I left campus and attended the Jewish Playwriting Contest at  Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford. There, our top 3 plays were performed in front of an audience, ranging from non-Jewish prospects to UConn’s own acting students. Using text-in votes, we all decided on our favorite play that would be moving on in the 2017 Jewish Play Project Festival in New York City in April, where the ultimate winner will be given a chance for their play to be further developed and workshopped. I am looking forward to see where our favorite, The Book of Esther, makes it in the rest of the competition!