By Tohar and Ofri Kait
“Avodat Shorashim” (roots project) is an annual project that every student in the seventh grade has to do in Israel. Seventh grade is the year of Bat and Bar Mitzvah, and this means taking responsibility and becoming a mature member of your family. This special roots project helps each student connect to the lineage of Jewish people in general and their families in particular. The purpose of this project is that each student will personally document his/her family heritage and connect to his/her past.
During this year each student has to build a family tree and research a certain topic he/she finds interesting. In order to build this tree, students need to document many members of the family, interview them, collect photos, documents and take pictures of special family objects. Throughout the years this project has become a true “family project” because everyone is pitching in to help with the work. Everyone starts collecting knowledge and at times they find things that have been hidden and forgotten over the years.
Many families who participated in this process experience a new connection that enriches and strengthens the link between children and their parents and also between the children and their grandparents. At the end of the year each class holds a big celebration and all the family members are invited. The kids present their beautiful work and this is a very touching moment!
Both of us had a very special time preparing our “Shorashom Project.” We decided that February’s subject will be “Our Roots” and this fits perfectly especially since we also celebrate Tu Bishvat- “Rosh Hashanah La’iilanot”- “New Year of the Trees.”
Come and join us in this months programs, hosted by Beth-El Congregation!