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My Family Story - now also in Russian


"My Family Story” International Competition Reaches Out to Russian Speaking Communities

Beginning in 1995, the International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies (ISJPS) at Beit Hatfutsot’s flagship project My Family Story has been playing an essential role in involving Jewish youth worldwide, from 5th-8th grades, with the Story of the Jewish People. Young participants together, with their families, embark on a journey exploring their roots, in a project that goes well beyond the usual family tree. It is a journey that connects students not only to their own family’s narratives, but to the greater Story of the Jewish People. At the center of the project stands the My Family Story Annual International Competition in memory of Manuel Hirsch Grosskopf, in which Jewish institutions worldwide send the best two family projects of children who participated in this exciting endeavor. The top 20 children from overseas, who placed first in local competitions, attend an official ceremony at the Museum where their works are then displayed.
Recently the program managed to enter the FSU (Former Soviet Union) market. Contact was made a year ago by Martha Mazu, founder of My Family Story and Ron Merkel, Director of Program Development with Igal Lapidus, Jewish Agency (JA) Director of Sunday Schools of Russian speaking communities in the FSU.
Beit Hatfutsot and the Jewish Agency initiated a program whereby educational materials were translated into Russian and a pilot My Family Story would be held at several schools. Ron Merkel attended the annual JA’s teachers Seminar held in Moscow.
Seminar participants were introduced to the concept of Jewish Peoplehood, the unique database of Beit Hatfutsot and the plans for the new Museum of the Jewish People. 10 schools were chosen for the pilot – Russia (6), Latvia (1), Kazahastan (2), Belarus (1). The participants were encouraged to upload their own family trees and to encourage their communities to create and upload family trees.
The curriculum was translated and produced with the generous backing of the Nadav Fund and help and support of Michal Kelman-Avital and Dr. Ariel Borschevsky, Project Director.
Ron Merkal displays program at teacher’s seminar in Moscow
Ron Merkal and Yigal Lapidus from the Jewish Agency launch program
Teachers view competition catalogue from previous year