Levine teacher finds solace in her students’ art
Photos: Holt Haynsworth of Haynsworth Photography
Nadine Gold proudly displays an Israeli flag project.

Israel-themed projects fill her heart after daughter makes aliyah

By Tom Elieff

While the news from Israel has created anxiety for teachers in Jewish day schools, the worries are intensified when that teacher has a daughter who just made aliyah to Israel.

But for Nadine Gold, a preschool teacher at Ann & Nate Levine Academy, whose daughter Trina Baskin (alumna of Levine and Akiba-Yavneh) is now living in Jerusalem, finding connection and comfort by creating Israel-themed art projects for her students has been a blessing.

“What can I do here as a teacher to fill my heart?” Nadine Gold asked herself in the week following the Oct. 7 attack. “I know that children fill my heart in my daughter’s absence.”

Ms. Gold decided on two major projects: First, she would assemble preschooler handprints and hand cutouts into a giant Israeli flag. She found a way to get all students involved. Levine’s monthly “Buddy Program,” which pairs each older elementary and middle school student with a “buddy” from the younger grades, completed the project. Proud of the outcome, the school’s marketing department pushed the image of the Israel flag out onto its social media sites and the feedback was unanimously heartfelt. The Star of David project dazzled colleagues and parents.

A second art project, also Israel-themed, is now an Early Childhood main hallway art exhibit. Nadine Gold’s class of 2-year-old students created mixed-media art pieces affixed to sections of Israeli newspapers that Ms. Gold took back with her after her visit to Israel last year. Children made colorful figures of their favorite animals and characters and these images and shapes pop up vibrantly atop the Hebrew words on newsprint.

“The Star of David shows hands connecting in prayer for Israel to be safe,” said Ms. Gold. “The mixed-media art project was simply a piece of what I had from Israel,” she explained, “so it was more personal to me, but the outcome was beautiful.”

Nadine Gold, as any mother would, talks to her daughter in Jerusalem as often as she can. However, teaching in the Early Childhood program at Levine continues to assuage her feelings by filling her daily with love and hope.

Tom Elieff is head of school at the Ann & Nate Levine Academy.

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