Where Do You Give?

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Another look at the Where Do You Give? Tzedakah Curriculum!

Recently I had the opportunity to see the third session of our Where Do You Give? Tzedakah Curriculum piloted in a 6th grade class at Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The lesson was fantastic, mixing different activities and types of learning, including a physical look at global wealth distribution , examining this cartoon, and studying Jewish texts.  What was so wonderful about this session was how it really got the students thinking. In fact, rather than going on and on about how great I think it is, here are just a few of the things that students said during our discussion. Can’t you just see the wheels turning?!

“It’s not really fair that some people have lots of things and others don’t . . .”

“The Starbucks represents being able to go do fun things everyday . . . most people can’t.”

“It’s unfair that so many people are born into being poor . . .”

“Most people in the world aren’t wealthy . . .”

“I feel guilty that I happen to be born to have a lot of money . . . I shouldn’t have, but I was.”

“10% of the wealth is split up among all the rest of the people!”

“People are trying to make themselves feel better . . . they have a guilty conscience for not doing tzedakah.”

“If they are born into a poor family then it’s not their fault they can’t get out.”

“At first I thought, why don’t [homeless people] get jobs? But if they don’t have a place to shower, how can they get a job?”

“And it’s hard to get by on that money, even if they can get a job sweeping floors.”

“Some poor people do have jobs, but it’s not enough to pay for a house”

“It’s not really your money; G-d is just depositing it with you, like a bank.”

“Maybe I could call the President?”


Sarah joined AJWS in September of 2010, where she contributes to the creation of educational resources and manages On1Foot.org, the online portal for Jewish texts and social justice. Prior to joining AJWS, Sarah taught at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and in the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies’ Social Justice Track. She studied at the Pardes Institute from 2008-2010 and at Yeshivat Hadar in the summer of 2008. Sarah holds a BA from Brandeis University in History and Political Science. Outside of work, Sarah enjoys cooking elaborate meals, studying Jewish text, hanging out with her fiancé and friends, and reading almost anything she can get her hands on.

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