Donna Klein Jewish Academy students capture top prize in National Library of Israel poster contest

BOCA RATON - Three eighth-grade students from Donna Klein Jewish Academy were recently recognized by the National Library of Israel for their stirring Yom Haatzmaut poster. 

The students, Rachael Elisha, Savannah Ferraro, and Jonah Klein, placed first in a competition that drew over 180 posters from 16 different countries. The victory brings a $750 prize to DKJA which will be used for an Israel-related program during the 2024-25 school year. 

Students who participated in the contest had to construct a poster that answered some essential questions: 
● What role does Israel play in the world? 
● What role does Israel play in my life? How does Israel shape my Jewish story? 
● What values does Israel represent today? Have these values changed over the years? 

As part of their submission, the DKJA students wrote about the poster: 
In Judaics class, we were tasked with formulating a poster for Israel’s 76th birthday. For our poster we drew two hands in consolidation, representing the Jews in Israel and in the diaspora. Our project exemplifies the unity between both. In the back, we have written the Shema because it is our favorite prayer, and it unifies us under the umbrella of Judaism. The hands signify how Jews across the world come together to fight antisemitism and hate. With this art piece, we are expressing our hope for peace and unity. 

Teacher Miriam Klein, who worked with the students said, “I was excited to bring the Yom Haatzmaut Curate & Create poster competition from the National Library of Israel to the eighth grade class. After October 7, we began a journey of learning the history of Israel while maintaining a watchful eye on current events and the war. The students channeled what we learned and current events to create meaningful artwork reflecting their personal connection to Israel and hopes for the future. The piece completed by Rachael, Savannah, and Jonah brought together many concepts and ideas discussed throughout the year in a creative and meaningful manner. Their representation of the important relationship between diaspora Jews and Israel impressed me the most as it demonstrates their understanding of the important responsibility we have as Jews to continue to support Israel throughout these difficult times.” 

The National Library recognized the DKJA students for their poster standing out “in aesthetics and composition, sending a powerful message of unity and hope. You elegantly used the image of hands intertwined to symbolize the connection between us as a people, and specifically between Israel and your community in the United States. The use of color in your artwork emphasizes both the similarities between us, highlighted by the common coloring (black and white), and the specific characteristics of each community that is exhibited in the colors used to decorate the hands and nails. The background for this strong connection is the shema prayer, expressing the shared foundation of our rich and long culture that goes back millenia. 

DKJA Head of School Helena Levine said that the eighth-graders who were honored represent DKJA beautifully . “We couldn’t be more proud of Rachael, Savannah and Jonah. As our school emphasizes our bond with Israel daily, witnessing our students blend this knowledge with remarkable artistic talent reaffirms just how exceptional DKJA truly is.”