Category Archive: Tzedakah VaChessed

Jun 04

Deciding Where to Give Our Tzedakah

Which organizations should receive our tzedakah money? Should we give to Jewish organizations, or to ones that give out stickers?   Three children checked out organizations that care for animals and nature. They read the organizations’ mission statements. They decided on the Nature Conservancy. As one boy summarized, “This one [NRDC] only helps polar bears. …

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Jun 01

Corn Flour Makes Cornbread – Shavuot, Part 2

Last week, we learned about how the story of Ruth that we read on Shavuot is about chessed — Ruth does chessed for Naomi by gathering barley for her. To act this out, we gathered our own “pretend” grain and ground it using a steel mill into coarse flour. This week we capped off the …

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May 31

Culminating Project in Yetzirah

Both Shorashim and Nitzanim have been working on panels for their group quilts. These quilts have not only been a review of the main themes they have learned this year (Sukkot, Breishit, Shema, Pesach, and Tzedakah VaChessed), but a culminating project to be displayed in a public space over the summer. Shorashim children have been …

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May 24

Milling Grain into Flour

This week we continued our Shavuot learning by asking the question: what exactly is a “harvest”? First, we read the wonderful book “Pancakes, Pancakes!” by Eric Carle, which tells the story of all the work required to make a single pancake… (milking the cow, churning the butter, feeding the chicken so it lays an egg…) …

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May 24

Children Consider Teachings From Rabbis Long Ago

What we deem “Jewish” and how we act as Jews is strongly influenced by teachings from the first several generations of rabbis, those rabbis who wrote the Mishnah (c. 220 CE) and the Talmud (c. 400-600 CE). By exploring foundational ideas from what’s known as this “Rabbinic Period,” our children grow into knowledgeable members of …

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May 20

Giving Others a Chance to Give Tzedakah

Shavuot, the Jewish spring agricultural holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah, starts Saturday evening, May 26. It’s traditional for children to decorate baskets with flowers, fill the baskets with fruit, and parade around the synagogue. Long ago, farmers in the land of Israel would bring the first fruits of their harvest to the …

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May 17

Chessed Cards

In Shorashim we have begun making “chessed cards”. In order to do this, the kids pick a shape, color it, and send it on a pretend “postcard” into their friend’s mailbox in Shorashim. Instead of a normal stamp, the kids get to stamp the first letter of their Hebrew name. Not only is it a …

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May 17

Harvesting like in the Book of Ruth

Shavuot is coming! On Shavuot, we read the Book of Ruth. In Shorashim, we have been reading a Shorashim-appropriate version of the story, with a focus through the lens of Tzedakah vaChessed. For example:  “Ruth shows so much chessed when she picks up all the leftover barley for Naomi,” and, “Boaz does chessed when he asks …

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May 16

Math, Jewish Enrichment-Style

Lots of math these days! We are learning to count to 100 in Hebrew. Each day, Nitzanim children guess how many marbles/beans/stickers/etc. are in a glass jar, and write their guess in Hebrew. At (pegisha – meeting), we count the pieces, out loud in Hebrew. Children figure out the difference between the closest guess and the actual …

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May 16

Great Questions

Just what, exactly, is צדקה (tzedakah)? What is חסד (chessed – kindness)? We’re building understanding of each concept. This week, Nitzanim children asked great questions: Can you do צדקה (tzedakah) or חסד (chessed) by accident? Can you do צדקה (tzedakah) without חסד (chessed)? To explore our opinions, we turned to Maimonides, a famous rabbi from 12th century Spain. (It’s so wonderful when children ask …

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