My Family Story Curation, Collaboration and Candy!

by Naomi and Jerome Silverman


I'm Naomi Silverman and this is my father Jerome. We live in San Jose, California.
I recently entered the 2017 international competition for roots research and heritage stories called “My Family Story.”
This competition is hosted by the International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies at Beit Ha’Tfutsot — the Museum of the Jewish People — in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Throughout the Jewish world, students age 11-15 are invited to submit an artistic display, based on their own genealogical research, to reveal a meaningful encounter between themselves and their families.
Over 20,000 submissions are tendered each year, but only ~50 displays from all of the different regions were chosen for the 22nd annual gallery exhibition in June 2017.
Last year, my good friend Noa Rudisch from Atlanta created a winning submission called “Sacred Objects,” and she was flown with her mother Adina to Tel Aviv for the exhibition opening in June, along with the other winners.

Finding Our Theme

To create my entry in the 2017 competition, my father and I attended a 3-part workshop at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco to review the basics of interviewing, storytelling and collaborative art-making.
We decided to research the life and history of my paternal Great-Grandmother, Rita Rosen, who passed away at the age of 89 just as we started working on the project.
Grandma Rita loved the land of Israel and visited a number of times during her life. The opportunity to tell her story as part of the larger story of the Jewish people is something she would have felt very proud and happy to do.
Grandma Rita’s parents owned a candy store in Philadelphia in the 1930’s, and I wanted to learn about what was her candy store like, how her family got into that business, and their Jewish history.
Here's a video about the workshops we attended at the Contemporary Jewish Museum to assemble our story:

Collaboration & Process

The opportunity to create this project came at the "perfect" time for us, as it has greatly helped us focus on Grandma Rita’s life and legacy, and we've learned so much about our family history and ourselves through doing our genealogical research.
It's also given me the opportunity to study a number of valuable digital storytelling skills that will serve me throughout my life and career.
Our vision for this project was to collaborate on script writing, voiceover work, video production, piano playing and photography, and it was a lot of fun!
I am very proud of our creative collaboration and the stories our project tells.
Here's a short video overview that explains how to view the project.

The Project

Schatz's Dreck-a-Mix is an interactive, animated box of 11 video confections and voiceover cues to guide you through the presentation.
There are three ways the project can be viewed: as an eBook, an HTML presentation, or a YouTube Playlist.
The eBook can be downloaded and displayed with Apple's iBooks application on a desktop, iPad or iPhone. That's the best way to view it.
If you cannot download the eBook, the HTML presentation is best viewed in a desktop browser, but can also be viewed on a tablet or mobile device.
The YouTube Playlist just contains the videos, without the interactive candy box.

2017 International Gathering

Thursday June 8, 2017

Our project was chosen by the My Family Story judging committee for the 2017 International Exhibition at Beit Hatfutsot, and I received a ticket to Israel to attend the festivities! What a privilege and honor!

Arriving at the Beit Hatfutsot for the gathering... so excited!
I brought my sister Alma (age 10) to enjoy the festivities and celebration!
Dan Tadmor, CEO of Beit Hatfutsot, welcomes the winners
Entertainment/pep provided by Tzofim (Israeli Scouts)
Gathering of parents from 25+ countries to discuss the fundamentals of Jewish Peoplehood... inspirational!
Each region/language group received a personalized tour of the Beit Hatfutsot... fantastic exhibitions!
My favorite exhibit was "Heroes: the Trailblazers of the Jewish People" which was very fun, interactive and inspirational
Cool interactive exhibit about Lydia Litvyak, a trailblazing female Jewish fighter pilot in the Soviet Air Force during World War II

Exhibit Opening & Ceremony

Friday June 9, 2017

The exhibition opening at Beit Hatfutsot showcased the excellent projects from all of the winners -- amazing artistic displays and family stories from the international Jewish community!

My grandmother, Renee Silverman, daughter of Great Grandma Rita, attended the festivities in-person as well! We were so happy to have her there for this special occasion.
The Exhibition was packed! So many nationalities and languages represented!
The Awards Ceremony took place at the Smolarz Auditorium on the Tel-Aviv University Campus, with over 1000 people in attendance.
Amongst the 13 English-language displays from North America, South Africa and Australia, my project took the *First Place* award!!!
Here's a video of the moment my project won First Place!
Detail of my First Place certificate
Super Proud Abba!!!
Proud family posing by the Schatz's Dreck-a-Mix exhibit with the First Place certificate!