Carmel Valley students achieve unprecedented ‘Double Win’ in international competition

Ten international finalists of the My Family Story International Competition will gather in Israel on June 13 to participate in the My Family Story Awards Ceremony at Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People.

What’s special about this year’s ceremony is that two of the finalists are fifth grade students at San Diego Jewish Academy – Gianni Mizrachi and Deryn Klein.

“That two students from the same school have won is both impressive and unusual and confirms (SDJA’s) wonderful dedication to this project!” said D’vora Greisman Daniels of the International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies at Beit Hatfutsot.

In 1996, the first My Family Story International Competition was held at Beit Hatfutsot. In 2009, the Competition received the generous support of the Grosskopf family of Argentina, and now includes an exhibition of winnings works, an international gathering, and prizes including tickets to Israel for international winners – including Mizrachi and Klein.

“This is great news!” exclaimed Shani Abed, Judaic curriculum coordinator at San Diego Jewish Academy’s Golda Meir Lower School. “What a great accomplishment to these two wonderful students!”

The competition, which provides a forum for students from Jewish communities around the world to come together to tell the story of the Jewish People, is just one aspect of a larger program. My Family Story is a comprehensive curriculum which provides Jewish students and teachers with the tools to join Jewish communities around the world in telling their stories and creating family history projects. In short, the curriculum offers a creative and hands-on methodology for teaching Jewish heritage, promoting the historical memory of the Jewish people and creating a sense of Jewish Peoplehood.

In addition to students learning about their family history, they also learned about Israel.

“I found out my great, great, great, great grandfather was the first Rabbi!” exclaimed Klein.

The competition emerged from the My Family Story Roots Project, which is a creative/artistic presentation that represents the family story of the participants. Beit Hatfutsot encourages participating students to be creative and to find expression for all their ideas and talents in their Roots Projects.

“I learned a lot because my brother entered the contest last year,” said Mizrachi. “But my favorite part was when my mother and I stayed up late at night working together.”

All finalists will have their projects displayed on exhibition at Beit Hatfutsot. The exhibition will launch on the day of the final ceremony and will be open to the public for one month. For more information about San Diego Jewish Academy, visit