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What We Hold: Youth Voices on Roots and What Matters Most

Mar 25, 2018–Mar 25, 2019

The teen years are instrumental in the creation of self. But what shapes us? What family stories become our core stories? What pieces of ourselves are formed and reformed from our heritage? In What We Hold: Youth Voices on Roots and What Matters Most, over sixty teens created individual audio segments reflecting on the people, moments, and voices that have imprinted on their identities.

What We Hold is the fifth, and largest, in a series of Contemporary Jewish Museum installations highlighting youth voices. These compelling recordings offer both a rare window into youth perspectives today and a place for youth to shine and share their voice.


My grandfather, who I call Poppy, died when I was 5 years old. I don’t remember a lot about him… Singing was this one untarnished part of his life that I knew I could relate to because I love singing too.

—Ella, 17


You must learn to not let go even if the rope leaves burns. That is a lesson I embody. My family has taught it over and over again.

—Justine, 14


It is strange to think I am as much a part of my mom’s legacy, as she is mine.

—Ariella, 16


I found out the answers later… Slowly trying to trace together the broken threads of history, the traditions of my being, of magic through storytelling…

—Ezekiel, 15

about the artists

Featuring youth voices from The Contemporary Jewish Museum Teen Art Connect Program; Contra Costa Midrasha; Jewish Community High School of the Bay; Oakland School for the Arts; and National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago. Participants ranged in age from 14 to 18 years old. 


Teen Programs are made possible by major support from the Koret Foundation, The Covenant Foundation, and U.S. Bank Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Ira A. Roschelle M.D. Family Foundation.

Image Credit

2017 Teen Art Connect Interns at The Contemporary Jewish Museum. Photo by Gary Sexton Photography.