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Meet Ivy Weinstein and Sienna Frank, both students in 4th Grade at the TSTI Religious School. Ivy and Sienna were recently chosen as the co-winners of the 2022 TSTI My Family Story program. My Family Story is a Jewish heritage program and connects the younger generation to their family stories and the broader story of the Jewish people. Both Sienna and Ivy’s entries will be submitted for consideration for the international exhibition. We wish them luck!

What was your favorite part of putting together your My Family Story project?

IVY: My favorite part was learning where my family was from and all the different countries and flags that we represent. I also enjoyed learning cool facts from my family history—like my great great grandfather Mayor Rottkov was supposed to go on the Titanic, but it was a Passover and his mom told him to stay home. Because of that, he lived!

SIENNA: My favorite part was researching my family and learning about the places I am from, which helped me appreciate my family more. I also liked learning about who I was named after, with both my English name (Sienna Michelle) and Hebrew name (Meira Shlomit) rooted in S’s and M’s. The “S” is for my dad’s Grandma Sally and my mom’s Grandma Selma, both great-grandmothers I never had the chance to meet. The “M” is for my dad’s Grandma Myra on his mother’s side, and for my mom’s Grandfather Michael on her father’s side.

Was there anything that surprised you about your My Family Story project?

IVY: What surprised me most was how many countries represented my family history! My grandparents had so much information to share on all their different stories of coming to the United States as Jewish refugees. They also kept so many pictures of my ancestors—even six generations back! This experience has been amazing and I really enjoyed the whole process!

SIENNA: I was surprised about how many generations back I could learn about for this project. I was also surprised to learn how many generations of my family were born in America!

Ivy Weinstein and Sienna Frank