My Family Story- We Have a Winner!

A blog post by Director of Education Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click here.

Wow, February 27, 2020 feels like a lifetime ago when over 300 people came together  to celebrate students from three area schools who participated in the My Family Story exhibit;  an international educational initiative offered by Beit Hatfutsot, The Museum of Jewish People in Tel Aviv, Israel. My Family Story offers an opportunity for students along with their families to learn about their family history and delve into the past of the Jewish people, creating a sense of belonging between their own family and the Jewish people all over the world.  The program is celebrating its 25th anniversary and connects families and Jewish communities from over 40 different countries.

Over ninety students from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, Bolton Street Synagogue and Ohr Chadash Academy participated in the annual event that has taken place at the JMM over the past six years.  Students are tasked with interviewing family members to learn about their family history and stories. The students create art installations that represent his/her family history with the help of teachers and families.

The students celebrate their work at the My Family Story exhibit here at JMM!

These projects are judged at the JMM and each school submits two winning projects to Beit Hatfutsot.  These students along with other students from around the world have the opportunity to be selected as part of the My Family Story competition in Memory of Manuel Hirsh Grosskopf in Israel. The winning students have the chance to participate in the My Family Story international awards ceremony that is held in Israel in June every year.

Some of the excellent projects presented at the 2020 My Family Story exhibit at JMM.

The participants are divided into four categories – Israel, English speaking countries, Spanish speaking countries, and Russian speaking and European countries. A small group of students was selected as winners from each category, and from these the first, second and third place will be selected. The winning works were selected by judging committees in the fields of education, art and the Jewish professional world, from among the hundreds of works submitted.

Since 2014, students from the Baltimore area have been chosen to be a part of the international exhibition, and we are so pleased to announce once again  a student from the Baltimore Jewish community has been chosen.

Mazel Tov to BZ Openden and Ohr Chadash Academy to be chosen as one of the winning projects!

Each student writes an artist statement about their project.  BZ’s statement was personal and really explains why he created the guitar that means so much to him and his family.

“The piece that I made represents how my grandfather’s guitar helped connect him to his heritage and inspired him to learn more about Judaism. If my grandfather didn’t have such a love of music, he may never have met Shlomo Carlebach, who was a large part of why my grandfather decided to learn more about his religion. The reason why I put two wolves on the front of the guitar is because I, Baruch Zev Openden, was named “Zev” after my grandfather, and “Zev” is the Hebrew word for “wolf.” The song that the wolves are singing is from the song “Am Yisrael Chai,” which was written and sung by Shlomo Carlebach.”

Due to COVID-19, students and their families are invited at attend a virtual ceremony this year that will announce the winners of the competition and to congratulate all participants from all over the world. The ceremony will be held on Wednesday June 10th .We are so proud of all of the area students that participated in the My Family Story exhibit and we are grateful to the Ronnie and Alli Russel Charitable Foundation for their support of the project.


jewish museum of maryland

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