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Jewish Journal

Stephen S. Wise students visualize whirled peace

by Ryan Torok

October 12, 2011 | 1:05 pm

Blowing in the breeze, a pinwheel read, “In peace, there is no war. There is calm.” Nearby, another pinwheel read, “Kindness,” “Shalom” and “Day of Peace.”

In honor of the International Day of Peace, about 400 elementary school students from Stephen S. Wise Temple joined children around the globe on Sept. 21 wishing for “whirled peace” as part of Pinwheels for Peace, an annual international art project started by two Florida teachers in 2005.

In the project’s first year, 500,000 pinwheels were planted. Last year, more than 3.5 million pinwheels with messages of peace spun in 3,500 locations, including the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, the Middle East, Africa and South America.

At Stephen S. Wise, art teacher Jan Navah led the project. As students from kindergarten through sixth grade planted the pinwheels -— made of paper, a wooden stick, pins and beads — throughout the 18-acre campus, Navah explained to the students that kids all over the world, on the same day, were doing the very same thing.

“We tried to get the kids to realize this is part of a worldwide movement, that people of all different backgrounds and religions are doing this in the name of peace,” Navah said.

Marking the 10th anniversary of 9/11, students at Stephen S. Wise wrote messages about 9/11, war and peace and tolerance on one side of their pinwheels, and drew colorful patterns to express their feelings on the other side.

Tyler, a sixth-grader at Stephen S. Wise, said he was only 1 year old on 9/11, but his mother told him what happened. With that in mind, he wrote a poem on his pinwheel that called for the end of all wars.

“It was very meaningful,” he said. “The wishes go up to the sky and God hears them.”

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