The teen years are instrumental in the creation of self. 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.

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.


Teen Programs are made possible by major support from The Covenant Foundation, The Hearst Foundations, U.S. Bank, and California Arts Council. 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 the Miranda Lux Foundation, and Ira A. Roschelle M.D. Family Foundation.