Alex Nasberg-Abrams of Maplewood, a 10-year-old student in the religious school at Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel (TSTI) in South Orange, achieved the high honor of becoming a finalist in My Family Story, sponsored by the Museum of the Jewish People-Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv. Every year, TSTI’s fourth-graders participate in the program — designed to connect students to their families’ stories and the broader story of the Jewish people — with two projects selected for submission to the global competition, which involves 20,000 Jewish youth from over 30 countries.
Alex’s project, about his great-great-grandfather’s escape from Poland in 1913, will be exhibited in the museum among the other finalists’ entries from around the world. Alex was part of a virtual ceremony at the museum on June 10, when the grand prize winner was announced.
For the project, Alex’s grandmother, who lives in Florida, was filmed narrating the story via video on a computer as Alex depicted the events using Lego models.
Alex said he’s been interested in his ancestor’s story since first hearing it. “I learned that he swam across a river at night, tricked guards at a checkpoint about his identification papers, reunited with his family, and eventually got to America.
“I’m happy for myself about being a finalist,” he said, “but also happy for my grandma for doing the story with me.”
Alex is the son of Susan Nasberg-Abrams, who has served for several years on the religious school board, and Jason Abrams. Alex’s older brother, Samuel, implemented the technology for the project.
Nasberg-Abrams said, “I loved how three generations of our family were able to work on this project together, even though we were physically apart. This project was a wonderful way for my kids to learn about their family history….”
Alex is the third student to represent TSTI in the program since the religious school began taking part in My Family Story eight years ago.