Teaching children valuable lessons in tzedakah

Jewish day school students with their Campaign tzedakah boxes

Jewish day school students with their Campaign tzedakah boxes

Combined Jewish Appeal’s Tzedakah Project exposes students at Jewish elementary schools to the central Jewish value of tzedakah. It is intended to engage parents in discussion with their children about the importance of contributing to, and being a part of, community.

“We wanted to include an educational component when we distributed tzedakah boxes for the Campaign,” said Tina Apfeld Rosenthal, who co-chaired the initiative. “It’s important for children to actually learn about the experience of tzedakah and not just about the idea.”

Each box contains an insert that explains what Combined Jewish Appeal accomplishes on behalf of the community, as well as games and questions to encourage parents to involve children in participating, as the Campaign theme says, “for one another.”

“Because every gift counts, children collecting coins in their box are making a difference in the lives of others,” said Elissa Lifson Uditsky, the project’s other co-chair. “It is important to encourage participation because we know that children who are connected to community are more likely to retain that connection as adults.”

Among the thought-provoking questions on the insert are:

  • What is the difference between a need and a want?
  • What does sharing mean to you and what does it look like?
  • Do you share some of your money?
  • How do you decide with whom to share?
  • If you have $100 to give away, who would you give it to and why?

Thanks to this project, children will gain an understanding and appreciation for the need to help others.