Where Do You Give?

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Sneak Peak of the Where Do You Give? Tzedakah Curriculum!

Feb 10, 2012 by Lisa  |  Project Updates

On Tuesday evening at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, I had the privilege of joining a group of seventh graders who are piloting the Where Do You Give? Tzedakah Curriculum. This was the second session of their tzedakah unit and it focused on the connections we have with people across the planet and the extreme inequality that exists around the world.

Students generated a list of countries that they had come in contact with that day—by interacting with someone from that country, eating food from that country, wearing clothes made in that country, reading an article about that country, etc.—and the list was quite impressive: Mexico, Israel, Russia, France, Netherlands, Italy, Japan, China, Suriname, Afghanistan, Taiwan, Iraq and Spain.

After generating the list, one student commented on the benefits of these connections: “It’s a good thing that we have all of these cultures around us because it helps us learn more about the world.”

Other students noted that one implication of these connections is that our economy depends on our relationships with so many different countries.

Students then watched a brief video called 100 People and reflected on how privileged their lives are compared to so many others in the world. These conversations are setting the stage for students to explore how tzedakah can be a means of using our privilege to affirm our responsibility for those facing poverty and injustice around the world.

In the spirit of the students’ exploration, I decided to list a few of the countries I’ve interacted with today:
• Trinidad (my children’s nanny’s country of origin)
• China (where my boots and winter coat were made)
• El Salvador (where my shirt was made)
• Mexico (where my pants were made)

What countries have you interacted with today? What are the implications of these interactions?

Want to learn more about the Where Do You Give? Tzedakah Curriculum? Stay tuned for more from Congregation Beth Elohim and sign up now to be the first to know when the curriculum is released to the public!


Lisa Exler is a senior program officer in the education and community engagement department at AJWS. In her four years at AJWS, she has developed and managed a range of educational materials that promote the values of global citizenship in the American Jewish community. Prior to joining AJWS, she taught third and fourth grades at the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan for three years. Lisa has a B.A. and an M.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. Lisa can be reached at lexler@ajws.org

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