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Tzedakah and creating a more just world

03/13/2019 10:49:29 AM


By Kim Bodemer

Tzedakah, often translated as “charity,” can more accurately be defined as “righteous giving.” The Hebrew word is comprised of the root letters tzadee, daled and koof, which translate to justice. Our tradition has a lot to say about when we should give and how we should give, but the overarching message is that we should give.
This year, our SHACHARIT students have embarked on an exploration of tzedakah, looking closely at Maimonides’ Ladder, a hierarchy of giving and considering how the money they donate each week could be used to create a more just world. A small group of congregants came together with members of the education team to imagine how our students could combine learning with action with a goal of becoming discerning philanthropists.
As a result of this initiative, four local organizations were invited to come to SHACHARIT on March 3 to talk with students about the work their organizations do in the areas of food security, LGBTQ rights, immigration and fostering literacy. Students were encouraged to ask probing questions about how donations to these organizations were utilized to help those in need. This Sunday, March 17, students will decide how to divvy up the tzedakah collected this year to help these organizations.
In order to share the learning and experience with the larger Temple Shalom community, on Friday, March 15, display boards for each organization will be featured along with some work by our third-grade students. Information about the important work of these organizations will be shared from the bima, and congregants are encouraged to ask questions and participate through donations to the SHACHARIT tzedakah fund so that we can all be part of creating a more just world.

Kim Bodemer is the Senior Director of Education and Youth Engagement.

Thu, July 18 2019 15 Tammuz 5779