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TEDx CJDS Choosing to Participate Conference by Grade Five
Jen Minkus

Current events and news from around the world can be overwhelming to navigate. People often wonder how they can help with the enormous job of bringing about a more humane, just, and compassionate world as well as a more democratic society. Grade 5 students showcased their learning in our Choosing to Participate conference. Students chose a topic that ignited a spark within them to further empower fellow community members through their TED talks. 

Our keynote speaker Rabbi Ari Hart presented his own TED Talk as well, emphasizing the critical importance of speaking out and taking action at critical times, such as the fundamentally Jewish value of inspiring change and making an impact in the world through helping refugees around the world and in our own city. Just as the Jewish people were once oppressed and enslaved, escaping in the middle of the night without enough time to bake bread, Rabbi Hart reminded us that we as Jews are obligated to help those who are in a modern day situation that we were once in. Rabbi Hart commended the Grade 5 students for their ability to delve deeply into difficult topics and make an impact:

"I'm inspired by what you all did here today - by the way that you learned and how you learned Torah and connected it all to the real world into how to make an impact. You have done so much work and research and shared so much this morning about what you learned and how you've turned your learning into action."

The culmination also featured Grade 5's larger Holocaust Unit, with the students' work detailing their shadow boxes from art that present a story about the legacy of the Holocaust. In music, students worked collaboratively on studying composers who prevailed during this time and helped to change history. In technology, students built 3D models displaying a word, image or memorial that evoked a response from their Holocaust study. Students also worked in their Argumentative Writing unit on developing TED talks, which spread their ideas about taking a stance and "choosing to participate."

CJDS is incredibly proud of our Grade 5 students for their ability to draw deep connections on a mature and thoughtful level. The content was heavy at times, and they rose to the challenge and produced impressive, thought-provoking work.