Calling all creative souls: Hemingway 6 word story project

Posted on Jan 18, 2013

Calling all creative souls: 6 word story competition

A Project in 6 Words

In the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway’s colleagues challenged him in a bet to write a story in only six words.
He wrote:

"For sale: baby shoes. Never used."

Hemingway is said to have considered it his best work.
Brevity may be the soul of wit, but it hardly seems like a Jewish forte. Take the Passover Seder, for instance.

In order for the Passover Seder to be complete, one is commanded to tell children the story of the Jewish people and the struggle for freedom. This is commanded so we never forget where we came from.

But what about our story? Our family story? Where did our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents come from? How can we pass on those stories to future generations? What can we learn from the past in order to influence our future?

To communicate something meaningful about our Jewish life in exactly six words might seem preposterous, if not impossible. However, six-word memoirs are a profound and creative way to think about our lives, our surroundings, our reality, and ultimately ourselves. It’s an interesting, surprising and exciting strategy for self-expression. As we prepare to welcome the holiday of Passover, we reflect on our own family history.

We are asking everyone in our JCC community to think about the following:

  • What is your story of this year that brought you to this moment of reflection?
  • What is your journey this year? • What six words characterize your feelings? There are many ways you can interpret six-word memoirs to make them your own.
  • You can process your emotions — whether grief or giddiness — create a mantra, generate goals or contemplate your secret to happiness. 
  • You can capture an experience or a memory in a single, succinct sentence. 
  • Write about how you see the world. Or how you’d love to see it. 

We invite adults and children of all ages join us in this exercise. Send your six words along with your name to Rabbi Donni C. Aaron at
Submissions will be used to create the exhibit, Your Passover Story: Pass It Down on view in the American Jewish Museum in the JCC March 19-April 30. No names will be displayed in the exhibit to ensure each author’s true freedom of expression.

All submissions are due by February 1, 2013.

For more information, call Rabbi Donni Aaron at 412-521-8011, ext. 215