Public Speaking Contest 2017



Dear Parents,

We are excited this year to be running our 29th annual Public Speaking Contest. The Public Speaking Contest was created by Larry Barzelai, in memory of his late father, and has enjoyed the active support of the Federation for many years.

The contest is open to students from grades 4-7.

This year’s contest is supported by Jewish Community Centre of Great Vancouver, State of Israel Bonds, and the Isaac Waldman Jewish Public Library.

Below you will find a list of the Speech topics, and some Frequently Asked Questions.

We look forward to seeing you on February 1st.


Sarah Berger

Public Speaking Contest 2017

1. A Jewish value or mitzvah which is very meaningful to me is …..
2. You are creating a new Jewish community from scratch. What are the first two Jewish institutions you would establish and why.
3. What city in Israel do you think is more reflective of modern Jewish identity, Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.
4. Many synagogues have added additional readings to their morning service including a Prayer for the State of Israel and a Prayer for our Country. If you were able to add an additional reading to the morning service, what would it be about and why?
5. What is your favorite Jewish holiday and why?
6. If you were to create a youtube video highlighting the Vancouver Jewish community, what would it be about?
7. Write about a family member whom you admire and explain what is special about them.
8. Who is your favorite Biblical character and why?
9. What is a mensch? Write about someone you know who is a mensch.
10. Topic of your choice.

Public Speaking Contest 2017
Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register?
You can register online at

My child told their teacher they are participating. Do I still need to register them?
Yes. Although this event is supported by VTT, RJDS and VHA, registration is handled by Jewish Federation. We do have students from other schools participating, and we need to keep one central database of participants to ensure a successful event.

How long should my child’s speech be?
Your child’s speech should not be longer than 3 minutes.

When should I arrive?
Please plan to arrive by 6:45 p.m., as the contest will begin promptly at 7:00 p.m. Upon arrival, check the posted lists for your room assignment. Please proceed to your room and check in with the moderator. There will also be a staffed information table in case you have any questions.

How many students are in a group?
Depending on the number of competitors, group sizes generally range from 8-18 kids.

Can I leave my child’s assigned room in the middle of the competition?
Out of respect to fellow participants in your group, please remain in your assigned room/group until all students have completed their speeches. We understand that sometimes you do have a good reason for leaving before the competition is finished. If that is the case, we ask that you please try to leave quickly, quietly, and only between speeches.

I have more than one child participating. Will I be able to hear both of them speak?
We do our best to ensure that you will be able to hear all of your children by staggering their presentation times. We ask that if you need to hear more than one child, then try to sit in a space that will allow you to easily exit the room. We also ask that you not leave in the middle of anyone’s presentation, but rather between speeches.

My child’s group is done speaking but the other groups aren’t done yet? What do I do now?
If your group finishes earlier than the others, you will have the opportunity to enjoy some snacks, catch up with old friends, and perhaps make some new ones. We ask that you not gather in the hallway, but rather in the auditorium, so as not to disturb those students who are still presenting their speeches. Once all of the votes have been tallied, the closing ceremony will commence, winners will be announced, and prizes distributed.

What should my child wear?
If your child is a student at VTT, RJDS or VHA, the school may request that you wear your school uniform to this event. Please check with your school. If your child is at a different school, we suggest that they dress in a respectful manner. While they need not wear dress clothes, we suggest avoiding gym pants, sweats etc. This year, we will be providing T-shirts for all participants, which are to be worn during their speeches. There is no cost for the T-shirts, and they will be available at the information table when you arrive.

When does the evening end?
The evening usually ends around 9:00 p.m.

I hope you find these FAQs helpful. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Sarah Berger