The Bernice Schaffer Bessin Poetry Award

Annual prizes are awarded to the best poems written by a student in the English Department.

Bernice Schaffer Bessin was born in New York City on June 3, 1914. She married George Bessin in 1940 and raised two daughters, Barbara Bessin Zucker and Margaret Bessin Peppercorn. She worked as an elementary school guidance counselor in the poor sections of New York City's lower east side.

After retirement she began writing poetry. In her late 70's and 80's she taught poetry at a senior citizen center in New York, had poems published, and taught poetry to inmates at a women's correctional institute. Her own poems dealt largely with issues of family, aging, and the life cycle. They expressed her great warmth, sensitivity to issues of change and aging, her energy, and her enthusiastic love of people and of life.

Recent Recipients of the Bessin Award:

2023/24 - Remon Badan, Yuval Loulay

2022/23 - Remon Badan, Avishag Eliav

2021/22 - Melanie Stern, Aviva Betzer

2020/21 - Maya Hollander, Netta Toledano

2019:Melanie Stern , Chen Shem Tov

2018:Aber O. Grand , Mika Moreh

2017: Anat Karolin, Guy Ungar

2016: Leehu Sigler, Batel Levy, Gilad Gutman

2015: Maayan Priel, Zeidy Canales, Aviva Betzer

2014: Maayan Priel, Aviva Betzer, Asaph Wagner

2013 : Ye'ela Karni, Dana Ben Arye, Shuran Avni - Barmatz, Iman Jaml

2012: Asii Jamal, Ulrike Goldenblatt, Carmel Livni

2011: Nadja Rumjanceva, Roman Filikovsky

2010: Danielle Zilberberg, Slava Bart, Melissa Dank

2009: Ron Ben Tovim, Viacheslav Bart

2008: Avital Tsype (First Prize), Moran Kornberg (Second Prize)

2007: Ron Ben Tovim

2006: Avshalom Guissin

2005: Julie Cohen

2004: Elad Zamir

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