Thursday, May 15, 2014

Tzedakah, Tzedakah, Tirdof, Tzedakah, Tzedakah you shall pursue Part I

Not withstanding my title which is a play on  "Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof - Justice, justice you shall pursue, that you may live, and inherit the land which the Lord your God gave you (Deuteronomy 16:18)." Sometimes at the end of a school year I do feel as if I am pursuing 1) Asking each class to decide on a specific Tzedakah 2) Getting these names and addresses to our bookkeeper  3) cutting checks and 4) publicizing the not just the miracle but what tzedakah we have supported this year.  Our teachers and students have made some wonderful choices. 

JNF Box from years past
I imagine that some of our parents and for sure our grandparents grew up with a Jewish National Fund Blue Box in their house.  It is a mitzvah, to give Tzedakah right before Shabbat, right before you light candles and sing Kiddush and do Motzi.  Now there are so many different Jewish charities and projects we can support it is hard to choose which one should get all the pennies, nickels, and dollars our students have contributed over the year.  Here is our list.  I recommend that you click on the link and find out more about all of these wonderful organizations.  

Kindergarten - 1st Grade will be donating a leaf on our Lakeside's Tree of Life.  If you want to donate a leaf for a simcha in your family feel free to contact Allison Gelman at  

3rd Grade:  The Ark
The ARK provides free social and medical services to help distressed members of our Chicagoland Jewish family return to self-reliance.  Lakeside does a food drive from Rosh Hashanah through Sukkot for the Ark.  

4th Grade:  Leket Israel National Food Bank
Leket Israel
Serving as the country's National Food Bank and largest food rescue network, Leket Israel works to alleviate the problem of nutritional insecurity amongst the growing numbers of Israel's poor. In 2013, with the help of over 50,000 volunteers, Leket Israel rescued and distributed 25 million lbs of produce and perishable goods1 million prepared meals, and 1.1 million (8,000/school day) volunteer prepared sandwiches to underprivileged children. Food, that would have otherwise gone to waste, was redistributed to hundreds of nonprofit partners caring for the needy. Leket Israel offers nutrition education, capacity building, and food safety projects to further assist our partners.

7th Grade:  Keshet
Keshet is the premier provider of educational, recreational, vocational and social programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities operating according to traditional Jewish values.  Our mission is to enhance independence and integration to optimize personal potential.  Many of our 7th grade students have participated in Keshet's Buddy Sports program which allows their students to participate in baseball, bowling and have a fun time.  

8th and 9th Grade, Pre-Confirmation  St. Baldrick's Foundation: Rabbi Ike Serotta's Donations page
At the end of October, Rabbis Phyllis Sommer and Rebecca Schorr had a crazy idea: what if thirty-six Reform rabbis would shave their heads to bring attention to the fact that only 4% of United States federal funding for cancer research is earmarked for all childhood cancers as well as raise $180,000 for this essential research. As of today they have raised $617,993.  

We have a few more Tzedakah recipients and I will write more in a new post!