June 24, 2024
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June 24, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

WDS Showcases Jewish Heritage

The annual Fifth Grade Heritage Fair at Westchester Day School is an unforgettable evening, culminating a year-long multidisciplinary project that forges invaluable links from generation to generation. Students begin around the fall chagim, excitedly delving into their own family’s personal history through a family heirloom. Students prepare essays, which are later immortalized in a book alongside professional photographs of all the artifacts. Students’ understandings of their personal heritages then extend beyond the artifacts, with elaborate family trees created through the WDS art program. These research, writing, and art elements combine with public speaking skills in the Heritage Fair evening, when students present their heirlooms, stories, and masterpieces to families and friends.

What lingers most for guests are the museum-quality artifacts and the powerful stories they tell, often bearing witness to the lives of those who could not share their own stories. This year’s items included, among other items, a silver gragger from Germany, immigration papers, chanukiot from Antwerp, Belgium and Morocco and military dog tags identifying a soldier as an Orthodox Jew. Occasionally, this in depth project connects WDS community members in unexpected ways. Years ago, the project reunited two ladies who had not seen each other since 1938 in Berlin! This year, two students who had attended school together since preschool discovered that their great-great grandparents were siblings!

Handing over the torch of our legacy, memory and continuity to the next generation links our chain of perpetuity as families come together to educate and learn. The Jewish Heritage Museum in New York City once remarked that no school executes this milestone project quite like WDS, a testament to the dedication and enthusiasm of the WDS community. Thank you to all those who contributed to its success!

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