In a beautiful and emotional Kabbalat Shabbat program last month, the San Diego Jewish Academy students presented the proceeds of their Hanukkah charitable project, or Tamchui, to five nonprofit organizations: Friendship Circle, Cake4Kids, Canine Companions for Independence, Lev LaLev (a girls’ orphanage in Netanyahu, Israel) and Make-A-Wish San Diego.
“The Tamchui project was a chance for the entire school, from kindergartners to high school seniors – and all the parents and teachers — to participate in a school-wide social action project,” Rabbi Philip Graubart said. “It was a fun, instructive, and fully participatory way for all of us to learn about Tikkun Olam, the Jewish imperative to make a better world.
“The idea was simple. We created a communal charity fund (the literal meaning of the Aramaic word “Tamchui”) and we selected a number of non-profits to receive the money. Our eighth grade students chose one of the non-profits and our parent committee chose the other four. Representatives from each of the non-profits came and presented their work to all the students. Also, the eighth graders went classroom to classroom pitching their favorite charity from among the group. And the entire study body voted. At the assembly, we gave out the money, according to the vote, each charity receiving whatever percentage they got in the vote.”
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