Children understand that when they give presents to friends or family or share a favorite toy they make the people around them happy. As children get older, and their sense of empathy develops, they also understand the concepts of fairness.
Tzedakah is about making sure that all the world’s resources (food, water, clothing, education, shelter, etc.) are shared justly. Our weekly tzedakah practice, as part of our school Shabbat routine, is a wonderful way for families to reinforce this very special Jewish value. With the tzedakah money collected each week from our students, we are able to assist a charity during Rosh Chodesh.
Modeling charitable acts is a great way to teach children the value of tzedakah, as studies have found that it leads to marked increases in children’s self-esteem and feeling of empowerment. When your children are included in tzedakah mitzvah projects, they discover that they can make an impact, in the world.
The tradition of giving is rooted in the belief of doing something kind through sharing. It’s about giving the world’s resources to people who have limited means. Teaching elementary and middle school students how to give through tzedakah teaches many great life skills.
Here are some tips on how to teach kids the importance of tzedakah:
1. Involve children in discussions about Tzedakah.
To help children understand the importance of giving and feel more involved it is great to talk to them openly about how donated money can help people in need. You can even discuss the types of organizations that they can give to and see which ones mean the most to them.
2. Focus on good values, such as sharing, gratitude, and empathy.
Daily gratitude experiences and opportunities to share and give will help children to grasp the concept of tzedakah firsthand and learn how important it is to give.
3. Tell stories about Tzedakah.
It can be easier for children to develop a greater understanding of big concepts when they come in the form of stories. Share stories about a time you gave, helped, or were kind to someone in need. Let children share stories too!
Every Friday, as a tradition, as part of our Shabbat celebration, Beth Emet School collects Tzedakah from the students. This helps children to really understand the meaning of giving and develop a sense of pride for doing something good.
Please help us in making a difference, and join us by sending in Tzedakah with your children during the school year, so together we can all fulfill this mitzvah. All denominations are welcome. Thank you for your understanding and partnership in making a great Jewish impact.