Jewish Culture & IdeasJewish HistoryChildren & Youth

What We Hold: A Youth Audio Project

Apr 14, 2019–Mar 15, 2020

The teen years are instrumental in the creation of self. But what shapes us? Which family histories become our core stories? How do we make them our own?

Over fifty teens, ranging in age from 14 to 19 years old, created individual audio recordings reflecting on their families’ formative stories of migration, language, passion, persistence, tradition, bridging distances, and love. Each recording acts as a connecting thread between generations.

Together, these compelling stories provide a rare window into youth perspectives today, a deeper sense of what unites us across backgrounds, and a place for young voices to be heard.


This exhibition is included in your general admission ticket. Museum admission also includes free access to all public programs and tours, unless otherwise noted. Public tours are offered daily (except Wednesdays) and are available first-come, first-serve—no reservations are necessary. Private guided tours, access tours for visitors with disabilities, and guided tours for school groups of all ages are also available.


What We Hold: A Youth Audio Project is the sixth installment in The Contemporary Jewish Museum's series highlighting youth voices, and the second iteration of What We Hold. For this project, teens interviewed a family member or loved one to investigate and reflect on what aspects of themselves are influenced by their cultural inheritance and family life. Over the course a few months, teens met with a theater artist, a podcast developer, and youth educators to learn the crafts of storytelling, interviewing, storyboarding, and podcast editing. This engagement resulted in these compelling recordings that offer a snapshot of what the teens uncovered.


Listen to all of the recordings featured in What We Hold: A Youth Audio Project.

program partners

Contra Costa Midrasha

Contra Costa Midrasha (CCM) freshman contributed reflections on stroies from significant elders, and the impact those narratives had on the students' identities. CCM is a pluralistic Jewish supplemental educational, mentorship, and leadership program serving Contra Costa County for teens in grades 8-12. 

Jewish Community High School of the Bay

Jewish Community High School of the Bay juniors contributed reflections on aspects of their Jewish identities transmitted to them by family members. The Jewish Community High School of the Bay is a pluralistic Jewish High School serving the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago

Yollocalli Arts Reach, the youth initiative of the National Musem of Mexican Art in Chicago, offers free visual arts and digital media programs and events to youth ages 13-24. Yollocalli's audio storytelling and radio program provides an outlet for bilingual and bicultural youth to share their voices and represent their communities through reporting and storytelling.

Teen Art Connect Program at The CJM

Teen Art Connect program participants contributed core stories that ground and unite them with past generations. Teen Art Connect brings together high school students from diverse backgrounds to explore, connect, and imagine in a creative museum setting.

Special Thanks

Thank you to the following educators for their guidance: Dan Wolf, Dean Kertesz, Devra Aarons, Hannane Hanafi, Julia Babka-Kurzrock, Liz Mak, Michael Mirelman, PJ Gubatina Policarpio, Reuben Steinglass, Stephanie Manriquez, Tyler Dean, and Vanessa Sanchez.


Teen Programs are made possible by major support from the Koret Foundation, The Covenant Foundation, and U.S. Bank Foundation. These programs are part of the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative (Teen Initiative) a project of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund in partnership with Jewish Federation and The Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay, and with support from the Jim Joseph Foundation.  Additional support is provided by Miranda Lux Foundation and Ira A. Roschelle M.D. Family Foundation.