-An Agency of UJA-Federation -
Sharon Halper, BJE Westchester Coordinator of Professional Development


Zochraynu: We Remember

September 11: Yahrzeit of a National Tragedy






Jews traditionally give tzedakah in memory of the deceased. The events of September 11 left numerous of families without their primary wage earner, thousands of children without a parent, families of illegals or minimum wage workers without a fiscal safety net.

Raising Funds for Donation: Brainstorm ways for your class (grade, school, congregation) to raise funds for donation.

· Sale of items

A used book sale
Bake Sale
Sunday morning bagel sales

· Sale of services: proceeds go to tzedakah

Car wash
Leaf clean up
Baby-sitting co-op
Servers for a party or congregational event

· Purchase for resale

A parent-student group might assume responsibility for bulk purchase of snack items to be sold prior to school sessions.

· Organize a Gemach

A gemach (from the words gemilut chasadim) involves renting an item, often for a special event, for which the rental fee is donated to tzedakah. Community gemachs might offer a small tent for a family event, a crib for a visiting relative, flower-girl dresses, etc.

Organizing a gemach first requires identifying an item (or items) that might be needed in your community and a source for that item.

Perhaps your synagogue has extra folding chairs, tables or coffee urns that could be rented for congregants' special events. A class or grade could provide the administration of the gemach in conjunction with adult members of the congregation's Social Action or Tzedakah Committees.

· Sharing our bounty

Can your congregation survive with fewer cookies at the Oneg Shabbat? Can your school survive the year without purchasing pencils or latkes for a school party? Can students look around your building and find an item that you needn't purchase this year so that the saved money can be donated to tzedakah?

Students might identify such an item and report to your Temple Board, suggesting that the adult community make a similar choice.

· Fund raising the old fashioned way!

Ask for 'pledges' from students to be paid over the school year.

Have students calculate a reasonable pledge that each could make during the upcoming school year taking into account a percentage of personal celebration gifts (birthday, Hanukkah, anytime grandparents visit, etc.).

Some thoughts to ponder:

· Should donations be made only to collections related to September 11th or should they be made to other organizations that are suffering in the aftermath of September 11th?
The generosity shown to victims and survivors of September 11th has 'hurt' other organizations in the past year. How should we decide where to give?

· If donations are made to organizations created as a result of September 11th, how should we determine the recipient group(s)?

· Should donations be made to public groups like the Fire Department or should they be made to strictly charitable organizations?

· Should donations be made to organizations that provide direct services to survivors' families, such as camps and programs for bereaved children?

· Should we seek out organizations that support people whose needs might be less well attended to, such as illegal immigrants or low-paid food service workers?

· Should donations be made through a Jewish organization?

· Why might Jews wish to make donations to interfaith recipients through Jewish organizations?


Some Organizations you might Choose to Support:

Ask students to find out if the employers of parents, friends or relatives are offering 'matching funds' for Sept. 11 donations

AFL-CIO Union Community Fund

Union Community Fund
815 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006

Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees

1219 28th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

For Primary Source Materials and More Tzedakah-Teaching Ideas:

Bush, Lawrence and Jeffrey Dekro. Jews, Money & Social Responsability, The Shefa Fund, Philadelphia, PA., 1993.

Grishaver, Joel Lurie and Beth Huppin. Tzedakah, Gemilut Chasadim and Ahavah. Alternatives in Religious Education, Inc., Denver, CO. 1983.

Rabinovich, Jan. The Tzedakah Workbook. Torah Aura Productions. Los Angeles, CA. 1986.

Siegel, Danny. Gym Shoes and Irises. Town House Press. Pittsboro, NC. 1987.

Taub, Shimon. The Laws of Tzedakah and Maaser. Mesorah Publications, Ltd. Brooklyn, NY. 2001



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27 Aug 2007 / 13 Elul 5767 0