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By: Frieda Haber
On December 26, 2016, the Shaare Torah Girls Elementary Division unveiled a project that its teachers and students had been working on for months: a museum-like exhibition recreating 5,777 years
The project was inspired by Rabbi Hillel Haber’s life’s work of charting and clarifying Jewish history. The educators at Shaare Torah Girls Elementary Division noted that from
pre-school, students learn the stories of Tanachin random order. In elementary school, Humash, Navi, Parasha, and Yehadut can all be learned on the same day, though each focuses on a different part of the time period. The teachers and principals of Shaare Torah sought to give their students the opportunity to contextualize all of the events covered in Judaic Studies in an engaging way that would also help them understand the basic chronology of the history of the Jewish people.
The morotof Shaare Torah devised a plan to recreate
a timeline of Jewish history in a simple yet informative way. Led by the eighth graders, each grade took part in creating an exhibition that clearly identified the 42 units of Jewish history,as divided by Rabbi Jonathan Rietti.
The theme of the exhibition was a powerful one: We Are A Miracle. While allowing their students to contextualize the basic chronology of Jewish history, the educators at Shaare Torah sought to convey to students and parents alike the message that our people, the Jewish people, are not a surviving nation in the year 2017 because of sheer chance or because of the mightiness of our warriors. We, the Jewish people, are a surviving and even thriving people because of the Hand of Hashem. Essentially, as the exhibition demonstrated, our very existence is a miracle!
As soon as the students were introduced to the idea, excitement filled the air and they were eager to begin this seemingly daunting task. The eighth grade coordinators did not disappoint as they collaborated with teachers and students of all grade levels in order to create the timeline in the most efficient way possible. Each class was assigned a time period they were responsible for portraying and the teachers and students partnered to create a unique presentation filled with artifacts and visuals. For months, the ruachin the school was one of positive energy and team spirit.
At last, after months of research and hard work, the exhibition was unveiled on the second day of Hanukah.The leaders of this project, the eighth grade students, served as tour guides for parents and students. Each tour guide, equipped with a professional microphone, effortlessly recited to their group
5,777 years of history, beginning with thecreation of the world and ending with the Jews of today’s world.
Walking through the exhibit, each display was more captivating than the last. Each showcase told a story of Jewish history in its own unique way, whether it was through artifacts from the Holocaust, a portrait of Rambam, or lifelike stuffed animals resembling the animals Noah brought on his ark. Under the leadership of the eighth grade tour guides each group was constantly transported through time.
All in all, the Jewish History Timeline Exhibition created by the Shaare Torah team was flawlessly executed. It proved to be an irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind learning experience for both the teachers, students, and parents of Shaare Torah and the broader Syrian and Ashkenazi communities. To date, at least a dozen schools have visited and many more have booked reservations to take part in the magic.