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February 17, 2011 - Image 30

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-02-17

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hands-on learning

by Polina Fradkin


FJA class seeks lessons at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

hat did you do at school today?"
"Oh, just had a Bible class trip to the
Detroit Institue of Arts."
Not many students can come home and say this
to their parents. Heck, not many students can ex-
plore biblical texts in an art museum! However,
Frankel Jewish Academy students in Amira Gaba's
Bible class are exceptions.
In a twist on the usual classroom setting, our Bi-
ble class, comprised of eight junior girls, filed into
two cars and drove to downtown Detroit to con-
clude our unit on anthropomorphism — the attribu-
tion of human characteristics to abstract concepts
— and how this trend appears in biblical text.
Our class studied anthropomorphism in the sto-
ry of the Tower of Babel, when God came down
from the heavens, and in Leviticus 16, which gives
the explanation of the cleansing of the tabernacle
where God dwells and from which he can leave.
We had been assigned a Bible/art project, and
Ms. Gaba wanted us to experience how artists in-

Polina Fradkin's three-dimensional Interpretation of

the Red Sea parting

terpreted Bible texts
through various media
before embarking on
our own interpretive
Upon our arrival
at the Detroit Insti-
tute of Arts, we met
our docent, Fran Fine,
who happened to be
a former kindergarten
Listening to Detroit Institute of Arts docent Fran Fine In the Rivera Court are FJA juniors Tamar
teacher at Hillel Day
School in Farming- Brown, Ted! Dorman, Emily Goodman, Mollie Darmon, Polina Fradkin, Dallis Antebi-Lerman and
Madison Spatter.
ton Hills. After lunch,
when students remi-
nisced with Mrs. Fine about Hillel days, she led us mates' depictions of God were.
to see the museum's Jewish art.
I created a 3-D work. It consisted of overlapping
We saw paintings of Moses in the Nile, a sculp- cardboard waves painted red, and a roughly made
ture of Lot's wife in salt pillar form and B'nai Israel papier-mache hand bending over the waves. The
(the people of Israel) dancing around the Golden hand was my anthropomorphic depiction of God
Calf. The artwork we saw portrayed God, but how splitting the sea, and it looked almost half finished
is it possible to portray God? This is where our class' because God and religion are never finished. The
study of anthropomorphism came in. We found that newspaper words that made up the hand were sym-
not only is the concept present in our Bible, but it bolic of the prayers of B'nai Israel for redemption
also appears in art.
from Egypt, and the waves were red because that's
The following school week, we focused on our how I've imagined the Red Sea since I was little.
art projects. The assignment was to examine Exo-
The DIA. experience as well as the art-making
dus 14:21, the parting of the Red Sea, and depict it experience was remarkable. Not many students can
through painting, drawing or sculpture. Ms. Gaba
say they went to the DIA with a
prompted us by asking: Did God physically part the
Jewish Studies class.
Red Sea? How and where was God seen during the
I'm glad to be the exception. L
Seeing anthropomorphic artwork in the museum
Polina Fradkin, 16, is a junior
at Frankel Jewish Academy
was incredible; but it was even more interesting to
In West Bloomfield.
see how different — and how similar — our class-

advice column — finding your true group of friends

Dear Ava,
I'm a junior and I still haven't found a
true group of friends. Everyone seems
to have a "clique," but I haven't found
mine yet. I get invited to sleepovers
and stuff, but I can't be myself around
my friends because I feel the need to
fit in. I'm in the "popular" group of
friends, but I don't exactly like where
I am. I still like having the status of
being popular, but I don't want to
keep being friends with people I don't
really like. Help!


TT2 teen2teen February 17.2011

Dear Friendless,
One key to life is to just be your-
self no matter what. What is the point
of faking who you are, especially if
you're not one bit happy.
Tip: Be confident because con-
fidence automatically brightens up
who you are and how you feel about
yourself. Another tip could be taking
a risk to make a new friend. Come out
of your shell and try not to put all of
your eggs in one basket.
If you don't feel comfortable being
in the "popular" group, then find a
new group of friends whom you feel

look back on your high school career,
will popularity really matter? Remem-
ber that you're not alone because we
all have our own problems; it just de-
pends on how well we hide them.


comfortable being around.
You should try to find a new group
of friends at lunch you could sit with.
You should walk away from a group
of friends and feel good about hang-
ing out with them.
Also, when you're older and you

Your questions will be answered with

honesty and sincerity by other teens

who've been there. Send your questions

to kcohen@renmedia.us with "Dear Ava"

as the subject.

visit JNt2t.com

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