Photo Credit: Nir Shaanani
My Family Story student participants gathered at Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv on Sunday, June 14, 2015.

On Sunday, June 14, hundreds of middle- and high-school students from 25 countries came together for a special ceremony at The Museum of the Jewish Peoplehood Studies (Beit Hatfutsot).

These students had all created artworks illustrating their families’ Jewish histories as part of Beit Hatfutsot’s popular “My Family Story” program.

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“My Family Story” is a global educational initiative in which students age 12 – 15 research and present their family stories in order to explore their collective Jewish history. The curriculum was created at the International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies in partnership in the U.S. with the Israeli-American Council (IAC).

The program allows students in Israel and in Jewish communities around the world to embark on a meaningful, personal, experiential and multi-generational Jewish heritage project. Through rigorous research and inspiring creativity, the students produce an art installation illustrating their journey into their family roots and connection to the greater story of the Jewish people.

Sunday’s event marked the 20th anniversary of “My Family Story” and honored this year’s 40 winners. There were more than 200 submissions for this year’s Competition in Memory of Manuel Hirsch Grosskopf.

Among the winners were 10 students from the United States, where the IAC has helped rapidly expand the program from 15 participating schools a year ago to 49 schools today. Parents of the 10 U.S. student winners attended this weekends event thanks to support from the IAC.

In total, more than 20,000 students from 155 schools and educational institutions participated in the Jewish roots initiative, including from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, the U.S. and Venezuela. 

“A year ago we joined with Beit Hatfutsot to help grow My Family Story in the U.S. because we believed in its potential to lead young Jews into powerful journeys of discovery and identity,” said IAC Chairman Shawn Evenhaim. “We aimed to double the number of participating educational institutions from 15, and we’re now in 49 schools and growing from strength to strength. We want every Jewish student in the U.S. to be proud of their Jewish heritage.”

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