July 23, 2024
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July 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

WDS Hosts Heritage Fair

Last week, fifth graders invited their parents and grandparents to a very special evening at Westchester Day School: The Heritage Fair. The fifth grade Heritage Fair culminates a year-long multidisciplinary project in which students explore, in detail, their family’s personal history through a family heirloom. Chosen heirlooms were categorized as follows: Documents, Photographs, Jewelry, Judaica, Military, Jewish Life and Back Then.

A sampling of items on display at this year’s Heritage Fair included: a Hungarian siddur; medals of honor; passports, steamship tickets, naturalization papers; a silver pidyon haben (redemption of the firstborn) tray; a brass samovar (Russian tea kettle) from the 1800s; a German notification letter declaring a man could no longer work as a judge because he was Jewish; and so many more prized objects, many of which escaped with family members fleeing for safety and freedom over a century ago.

Students interviewed relatives, wrote a narrative piece about their artifact’s meaning and connection to their family and then worked with the fifth grade teaching team to hone their public speaking skills in advance of oral presentations at the fair. The goals of the Heritage Fair include pride in specific family heritage and Jewish identity. What a spectacular moment witnessing children presenting their hard work in preserving history m’dor l’dor. Alongside each student and heirloom, students displayed beautiful family trees created as part of the fifth grade art program.

Many thanks to Michael Turek, who so graciously spent time on campus, photographing the artifacts and creating a memorable book that captures each narrative along with a detailed heirloom photograph. These books serve as a keepsake for each family as well as the next edition in a rich and meaningful Heritage Fair collection preserved in the WDS library.

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