Thank You, Where Do You Give? !
I’m sad to share that today is my last day of my internship at American Jewish World Service, and with Where Do You Give?. I want to take this opportunity to share some final thoughts, and more importantly, thank-yous.
It has been a true pleasure to watch this project grow from a little design competition to a nationally-distributed curriculum (a BIG thank-you and shout-out to those who have already downloaded—I hope you’re enjoying!). My first project here at WDYG was promoting the June 20 Giving by Design event, a gallery opening that turned into an exciting celebration of giving and the communities in which we do so. I then moved on to the design of the curriculum and website (which you may notice, has a new look!), and am privileged to finish up with the opportunity to share this phenomenal resource with my friends and networks in the Jewish education world.
The educators that worked on this curriculum, and staff that developed the mobile tour put endless amounts of passion and thoughtfulness into this work. The curriculum is a labor of not only love, but also of hope, for a new energy and conversation around giving in the Jewish community. These materials are meant to support both formal and informal programming in whatever type of setting you’d like: day school, religious school, camp, youth group, Hillel, community centers, etc. I encourage you to read through, take it apart and put it back together. These resources really can work for you.
I encourage you also to consider the questions behind what Where Do You Give?‘s curriculum asks. Because WDYG is not just a competition, an event, or even just a curriculum: it is a philosophy and a prayer—that giving continue to remain a cornerstone of the Jewish experience in a way that is thoughtful, intentional, compatible with our 21st-century lifestyles and values. And WDYG is a community—of people engaged in the same conversations, issues and lessons as you, of the next generation of givers who want to do it in a meaningful way that makes sense to them.
In my first post, I wrote about how Where Do You Give? asks us new kinds of questions around giving: instead of “what” (the question grew up with), “where.” Throughout my internship this summer (as with any meaningful educational experience) I have not gained more answers, but questions. In addition to how (and yes, even what) we give, I have learned to ask: if, which, when, why, and of course, ultimately, where.
However, this deluge does not intimidate me. Having sat with these new questions, discussed them with my colleagues, seen them expressed through art, debated them with my intern class at AJWS and pondered them through Jewish texts in the materials of our curriculum, I feel more empowered and excited than ever to take them on. I’m entering my senior year of college, after all, and will soon be entering a new universe of obligation as an income-earning adult. Questions that once paralyzed me no longer do, nor do I feel distant disdain at the idea that money can change the world (read AJWS President Ruth Messinger’s thoughts on that here). Instead, I know that money gives us power, and the privilege (in both senses of the word) to do something with that money.
Thank you all for allowing me to share thoughts, articles and project news with you this summer. Thank you for engaging with us, these materials and these questions in more ways I could have imagined. Thank you for welcoming a new voice into the national conversation on tzedakah.
Please continue to share your thoughts, use the resources and tell us what you’re doing with them, and of course—don’t forget to let us know where you’re giving!
All the best, with much gratitude,
Photo: AJWS Summer Interns lobbying in Washington for Reverse Hunger. That’s me, center left.