This past Wednesday, TDSP was transformed into a Jewish Art Museum. The multipurpose room and upstairs hallway were lined with displays representing the struggles and triumphs throughout Jewish history. These pieces represented a wide array of Jews, focusing on those known worldwide for their work, to those who struggled to survive to researching their own personal family history. Parents were invited to walk through and check out the students’ work. They really had a nice time checking out the work of their children and their peers. Avigail Abramov commented her mother really liked it, specifically how, “each picture represented a time in history where we had to struggle.”
The projects were a collaboration between Dr. Malka Ungar and Mrs. Naomi Weintraub. Dr. Ungar enlisted the help of the ELA teachers to bring the curriculum to the classroom. The topic of the history of the Jews wove kodesh into the English subjects. It connected what was being learned in English of history class to how the Jews lived through that experience. Yisrael Meir Shimunov shared some of what he learned about the Jews during the Civil War. “Jews used apple juice during Pesach, they made their own hagadas and siddurim.” He said. “Hundreds of Jewish men were in the army,” a fact that he had not thought of before.
The students started the research aspect back in December. Classes were reading up on their topic, collecting information. After gather facts and putting it onto paper, each class was assigned an art element to express their subject. Mrs. Weintraub worked closely with each class, for weeks, helping the boys and girls get their message across. There were watercolors, layering of images, and tracing, as the students prepared to share their work.
The eighth grade girls were lucky enough to be able to do their project on their own ancestors, focusing on a specific heirloom.” I learned so much about my dad and heritage”, she said. “I loved my project and that I was able to interview in person.” She spoke to her father directly about growing up in Iran. An anonymous eighth grader shared that, “It was cool to go back in history and to learn so much about our family from a small artifact.”
All in all, the Jewish Art Museum was a smashing success. It was a beautiful way to take the learning in class, bring in the aspect of our own history, and then express it in a creative way through art.