North Suburban Synagogue Beth El

My Family Story Project

Posted on March 19, 2018

Sunday was an exciting day for our Vav (6th grade) students in the Jack & Mildred Cohen Religious School. After many weeks of hard work on their My Family Story Projects, they presented their work to parents and judges. Students were tasked with creating a three-dimensional work that represented their family story. Students got very creative with the assignment by designing games, puzzles, albums, recipes, charts, toys, and food! Judges Rolly Cohen, Marla Hand and Judy Solomon, had the difficult task of selecting two winning entries to send on to the Worldwide Jewish International Heritage Competition. Representatives of 155 Institutions, 28 Countries; a total of 20,0000 Jewish Youth send their entries to the Annual “My Family Story” Competition in Memory of Manuel Hersch Grosskopf  at Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish People in Israel. Our own Vav students will compete with other youth entries from around the world. The winning entry will win a trip to Israel!  The Jack & Mildred Cohen Religious School has been participating in this project for the last 6 years; four students had won a trip to Israel in the past and participated at the Award Ceremony at the Museum.  

After viewing and judging in the Grossinger Brickman, students carried their projects to the Rissman Kol Ami Collection showcases. There, they had the good fortune to hear from the artist who created all of the works in the current exhibit: Painted Portraits of a Family Past. This theme tied so beautifully to the project that they had just completed! Artist Howard Schwartz walked the students through his works and described the meaning and significance of his family members represented in the paintings. 

Finally, the winners were announced! Noah Hersh and Addysen Gross took the top prizes. Noah’s entry was a series of blocks that had a different photo on each side. Much like a Rubik’s Cube, the blocks could be switched to create a new grid that represented a specific group of people or memories related to his Jewish family history. Addysen created 3-dimensional representations of foods that had meaning to her and her family. From her grandparents to her parents each type of “Jewish Food” reminded her of special stories she shared with her family members. 

So proud of ALL of these students for the commitment and dedication they gave to telling their families’ stories! A special kol hakavod to their teacher Noreen Ohcana who helped inspire and mentor the students throughout the project.