I am constantly inspired by the passionate engagement of our Talmud Torah students, families and faculty! During this past month, we experienced yet another example of the outstanding, collaborative, and experiential learning that permeates our school’s programs. After months of research, reflection, interviews, acquisition and preparation, during the first week of February, our Kitah Hey students presented their individually curated Living Museum exhibit to absolutely rave reviews!
Guided by our 5th-grade teachers, Mary Baumgarten and Susie Chalom, our students brought into focus their understanding of Jewish history from the general to the specific, and from the past into the present. With the help of their parents and/or extended family members, each student chose a meaningful family artifact as a vehicle to share an aspect of their family’s Jewish journey. Some students chose Judaica (for example, a tallit, a prayer book or liturgical text, a kiddush cup, or other ritual items), while others identified secular items that hold a special place in their family’s place of origin (like an antique game set from the “old country,” a piece of jewelry or clothing, or a travel document, etc.).
After extensive research on the history of their chosen artifact, as well as a field trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Art where they explored techniques and examples of how to best display historical items in a museum-like setting, our students’ week-long exhibition successfully opened to the public on Sunday, February 10th in the Tychman Shapiro Gallery of the Sabes JCC. Each of their items was elegantly displayed in museum cases, along with annotated descriptions of the artifacts, as well as their histories, which were written by the students themselves. On opening day, and throughout the week, students greeted the many visitors to the exhibit (parents, grandparents, family friends, fellow students, and other guests), and served as docents, providing additional information about their artifacts as they answered questions.
Kol Hakavod to our Kitah Hey students and their families for sharing their personal histories and insights with us and with the members of the community. Through their deep learning, they have beautifully demonstrated that connecting us with our personal and communal past is a powerful tool that transmits and inspires intentional Jewish living into the future!
Hazzan Jeremy Lipton