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“Eitz HaMishpacha”: Family Trees in the Ramaz Lower School

March 27, 2012

It’s always fun and interesting to research family history, and this spring Ramaz fourth-graders had a chance to do just that as part of a project in Judaic Studies classes taught by Morot Naama Graidy/Tami Teller and Morot Maya Melitz/Tami Masar.

Asking questions of their grandparents and parents, they delved into their family’s background, country and city of origin, derivation of the family’s last name, immigration details, etc. If the family “elders” were able to do so, the conversation was conducted in Hebrew. Reports, written in Hebrew, that the students submitted were fascinating reading and provided the basis for the “Eitz Hamishpacha” or family tree that each student prepared. The names on the branches often were supplemented with family photos that brought the story to life. In discussions, the link was made between the roots and branches of a tree and those of the family.

To provide them with some background on genealogy, Mr. Eli Melitz, a professional genealogist and Morah Melitz’s father, spoke to the students about his research techniques and his experience helping others fill in missing branches on their family trees.

On Tu B’Shevat, appropriately, the family trees carefully prepared by Grade 4 students blossomed in the Lower School auditorium as Grade 3 students viewed the work and listened to the older students explain the relationship among all those featured and interesting details of the family’s history.

For the next portion of the project, Grade 4 students will discuss a Judaic family heirloom (in Hebrew, of course) not only with their classmates, but also with their Israeli pen pals.

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