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The 2012 My Family Story Awards Ceremony


Young Jewish genealogists gather at BH to celebrate My Family Story winners

Beit Hatfutsot buzzed with excitement on June 14th while celebrating the My Family Story - Manuel Hirsch Grosskopf International Annual Competition. Dozens of young Jewish genealogists along with hundreds of students, family and friends converged onto the museum. This year, for the first time, international winners received a free trip to Israel, courtesy of the Grosskopf family, the competition's sponsor.

Fun and meaningful events were organized for the winners and their families to celebrate their heritage projects, meet peers from the world over, open the new exhibition displaying their work, and to honor the exploration of Jewish family stories. The kids enjoyed the awards ceremony broadcast live online, icebreaker games, and a specially organized treasure hunt in Tel Aviv that became a fun city tour. In the meantime, their family and friends were guided through the museum’s galleries and then hosted at an elegant cocktail party, where they mingled with Beit Hatfutsot's board members, staff and supporters. Everyone who came to Beit Hatfutsot to enjoy this wonderful award ceremony took part in the launch of the new My Family Story website, which highlighted the program’s global connections in a digital age.

My Family Story was indeed a family affair for Alan Galicot of San Diego Jewish Academy in California, USA, who flew in with his parents, brother and grandmother to share the amazing experience. His mom, Rashel, was so moved, she told Beit Hatfutsot staff that, “It was one of the best experiences we have had as a family! I really love it!” Other students, like Andre Aruin, of Religious School, Jüdischen, Düsseldorf, Germany, were joined by their teachers who were so much a part of the creative process. During the ceremony, Andre’s solo classical piano performance that accompanied his family video was a real show stopper. His teacher, Tamara Guggenheim held back tears while she addressed the crowd.  Another winner, Zackari Stein of Bialik College, Melbourne, Australia, showed incredible incentive by flying on his own to Israel!

Over 30,000 students from 110 schools in nine countries participated in this year’s competition, now in its sixteenth year.  Throughout the past few months, as submissions swarmed the offices of the International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies, the staff combed through all the amazing work that Jewish students researched and designed. Of the top 400 submissions, the 30 best projects were chosen to be displayed in a special exhibition at Beit Hatfutsot throughout the months of June and July. The installations include well researched family tree albums, photographs, original authentic aged documents, and creative, beautiful and interactive designs that capture both personal family stories and the broader Jewish people’s collective experience.

For the first time this year, the educational curriculum that accompanies the My Family Story program was made available in English, Spanish and French – forging a path for many more Jewish students worldwide to participate. In addition, the new website, which includes interactive activities, galleries, and information, enables students from around the world to communicate and learn about other students’ work.  The website, which also links to a Facebook page, was launched at a special cocktail party to honor the Grosskopf family for their generous support. 

 “The new educational curriculum really helps facilitate the students’ creative process triggering more multifaceted and rich projects,” says MFS Director Sophy Turkea - Yurman. “And now students will be able to easily upload their creations to the Beit Hatfutsot database.” 

The international winners who won a trip to Israel for this year’s competition are: Alan Galicot of GMLS San Diego Jewish Academy, San Diego, California, USA; Celia Cohen of Hillel Yeshiva, Ocean, New Jersey, USA; Nurit Steinkoler of  Dr. Haim Weizman Institute, San Jose, Costa Rica; Tomas Saul of Colegio Tarbut Argentina, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Paula Dimerman of Colegio Professor Haim Weitzman, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Jacobo Soffer Prasnyski of Colegio Hebreo Tarbut, Mexico City, Mexico; Sharon Steinberg of Yavneh School, Mexico City, Mexico; Abraham Israel of Institute Ibn Givrol, Madrid, Spain; Zackari Stein of Bialik College, Melbourne, Australia; and Andre Aruin of Religious School, Jüdischen ,Düsseldorf, Germany. 

The Israeli winners of this year’s competition are: Aviv Kazas of the Realy School, Haifa; Idit Gindler of ORT Leibowitz, Netanya; Shir and Shani Kamintz of the Alliance School, Tel Aviv; Tamarat Tyar  of the Danziger School, Kiryat Shemoneh; Noa Eitan of the Herzog School, Holon; Bar Kachlon of the Hanagid Middle School, Herzliya; Nevo, Goni and Noga Ofek of the Rabin High School, Eilat; Hadar Atara Teper of District School Seven, Ashdod; Ili Landes of Hof Hasharon School, Shfayim; Yona Broder of the Derech Avot School, Efrat (second place) ; Alon Mazor of ORT Afridar, Ashkelon (second place); and Ofek Cohen of the Rugozin School, Kiryat Ata (third place). 

For more information about the winners, their projects, honorable mentions, or how to participate in My Family Story, visit