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Live in Freedom (An Acrostic Poem)

Editor’s Note: The Forward’s Youth Writing Contest is asking middle and high school students to submit essays, short stories and poems on the topic “What It Means To Be Free.” We’re still accepting entries at — you can find the entry guidelines here.The deadline is Friday, May 1. Today, we’re proud to publish this acrostic poem by Erin Steinberg, a 12-year-old student from the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County. We’ll be publishing more exciting new voices soon. You can find some of them here.

Erin Steinberg

Contestant: Erin Steinberg is a 12-year-old student at the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County. Image by Courtesy of Erin Steinberg


Live your life the way you want.

It’s YOUR decision.

Very few can do what they like, completely unrestricted.

Every year we celebrate Passover to remind us of our freedom — freedom from the Egyptians and their endlessly torturing WORK.

It’s easy to let yourself be pushed around, but know when to stand up for yourself.

NO ONE can tell you who to be.

Free people have the right to many things, like the…

Right to SAY what you want, FEEL what you want, GO where you want, BELIEVE what you want.

Everyone should be respected for WHO THEY ARE. Not who they “COULD BE.” You are who you are, right? Nobody ever truly erases their TRUE SELF.

Efforts to change the world for the better are rewarded. Even if you don’t notice it, it’s like bonus points in the WORLD TO COME.

DON’T lose yourself to the craziness of what’s going on in the world.

Or ignore it. Know WHEN to act.

Make sure you walk with your head UP, so EVERYONE gets this message: I AM ME, and NOBODY can change that.

Erin Steinberg is a 12-year-old student from the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County.




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