For the second consecutive year, a Hebrew Academy Grade 6 student is one of 50 finalists of an international contest run by an Israeli museum. Natan Abicidan won for his beautiful, ornate project depicting “The Sinking of the Egoz Ship“.

Over several months, Abicidan’s grade participated in the My Family Story 2019 International Competition in Memory of Manuel Hirsch Grosskopf.  An initiative of Tel Aviv’s Beit Hatfutsot, The Museum of the Jewish People, the 25-year-old program has been incredibly popular in schools worldwide and offers students a chance to explore their family history and deepen their connection to the Jewish people. Together with their French teachers Shirley Azoulay, Rivka Toledano, Etty Amar and Ilana Lasry, the students conducted months of extensive genealogical research and produced exquisite projects which they showcased for their families in March. At that time, Natan was selected among three finalists by a panel of school judges to represent Hebrew Academy at the international level.

It was the idea of Dr. Miriam Schrager, Elementary Director of French Studies and Academics, to have HA students participate for the first time last year.

“After the indisputable success of last year’s program, yesterday we hosted the second exhibit of “My family story,” she said. “The students stood out based on the originality and creativity of their projects. It seems that the accumulated experience [of the previous year] set the stage for the students’ motivation and degree of investment. I am extremely satisfied with the results but especially with our students’ findings and discoveries about their respective families’ heritage.”

Grade 6 began the program at the beginning of the year and worked on the curriculum – including assignments, interviews, the assembly of family trees and the collection of artefacts – at school. The accompanying artwork, which ranged from intricate replicas and dioramas to exquisite photo collections, was largely completed at home.

“We had the pleasure through the Beit Hatfusot project of discovering touching stories that highlight Jewish values, customs and heritage,” said Mme Azoulay. “The parents’ involvement largely enabled us to execute the mission set out by Beit Hatfusot, which was to preserve our identity by becoming aware of our origins.”

Last year, Grade 6 student Noemie Bendayan was selected as one of three school finalists, then Beit Hatfutsot chose her as one of 50 international finalists. Her project was on display at the museum last summer and Bendayan and her mother travelled to Israel to participate in a special ceremony.

This year, due to Covid-19, finalists and their families will take part in a virtual ceremony with participants from all over the world on June 10. Natan’s family members, classmates and teachers will join in celebrating his remarkable achievement.

Bravo, Natan!

                                                                                                           -by Aviva Engel, Director of Communications

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