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News From The Director Of Education

News from the Director of Education - October 2011

Monday, January 30, 2012

In my June article, I mentioned a mitzvah program for our 7th grade class which the Religious School

Committee and a group of parents adapted.  After many months, Tzedakah in Action is ready for launch!!



Tzedakah in Action - FAQ



What is it?  A Seventh Grade class wide Tzedakah initiative that would create a wonderful Tikkun Olam (Repair of the World) opportunity.  Please Note:  It is not a substitute for each student’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah Project. 



Is this a totally new idea? Tzedakah in Action has been a successful venture at Temple Isaiah in   Lafayette, California.  The philanthropic nature of the TKC 2011-2012 7th grade class inspired us to duplicate this program for our 7th grade classes.



How does it start?  At the beginning of the Seventh Grade year each family would have the option to donate to a TKC Seventh Grade Class Fund instead of giving individual gifts to students at their B’nai Mitzvah celebrations.  For example, instead of each family writing a check for $18 (chai) or $36 (double chai) as a gift to each student, one check for $180 could be given to TKC’s Tzedakah in Action  Fund to honor all of our students.  Our suggestion is a minimum of $180 per family in honor of the entire class; however, any amount is appreciated.  Families may also choose to donate per simcha (celebration).  Students may also wish to ask guests for donations to the program in their honor.



What happens to the money?  While the monies will be held by the Temple, it will be the Seventh Grade class’ responsibility to be the “Trustees” of the Fund.  They will decide to which charitable organization(s) the monies should be allotted.   Teachers, clergy, the Religious School Director and a parent council will help guide the students.  During Religious School Judaic class time the students will learn about potential non-profit organizations of their choosing.  Individual as well as class research will be conducted with guest speakers coming to visit when the field of potential grantees has been narrowed.  Students will make the final decision on the allocation of funds.  The Seventh Grade class will also publicly present the funds to the selected charities at the end of the school year.  Each upcoming class would be charged with identifying the next year’s charitable organization(s).



What kind of recognition will the student receive?  All students will receive a certificate of participation at their B’nei Mitzvah as well as a listing in Temple Kehillat Chaim’s monthly newsletter.  In addition, donors will receive a confirmation of the donation and a listing in the newsletter.  The donation will be included on the end of the year tax statement.



Why do this?  To teach our Youth an important lesson about giving to others and the power of bonding together.  Its intent is to also expose the students to the needs of our community and beyond, thus making them Tzaddikim for our World.  Finally, it is    designed to give our B’nai Mitzvah students a desire to stay invested in their Religious School class time even after their simcha has passed.


Are there any additional benefits for TKC parents?  Yes, because they are writing a check to TKC, parents can take a tax credit for their donation.  In addition, each family, not just the student, can embrace the spirit of Tzedakah.



We are all very excited to discover how the program will change our student’s view of themselves and their ability to make a positive change in the world.


We have a special program planned for erev Sukkot (Wednesday, October 12 at 6:30pm).  Bobbee and Adam Griff, representatives of Adamah Adventures,a Jewish adventure camp that invites Jewish teens to take on some of the country’s most thrilling, awe-inspiring outdoor adventures, will be on hand outside the sukkah to provide a cooking demonstration (and all we have to do is provide some hungry folks!!!)  We hope to see you and your family will come to help us usher in Sukkot.



The Preschool Parents Association invites all of you to come for Shabbat dinner on Friday, October 28 at 6:15pm.   We can bridge the generations as we dine together (and who can argue with the price - $5.00 a person!) and worship together as we welcome special bimah guest, Meredith Blumoff, storyteller and songwriter.  RSVPS are due by October 19 to the Preschool office.  Checks for dinner should be made out to TKCPA.


Speaking of Preschool, we bid a tearful farewell to Marian Vosk, who has been our PreK teacher for the past 10 years.  Her warmth and kindness will be missed by students, parents, teachers and me!  We welcome Lisa Ackerman as our new PreK teacher.  Lisa comes to us with a wealth of Jewish early childhood experience and is very excited to have the opportunity to work with our school.



Road to Confirmation kicks off on October 19th, with our Simchat Torah celebration, complete with the unrolling of the Illustrated Torah in the Social Hall.  This year, in addition to the scavenger hunt, prepared by the Rabbi, we invite you to engage in some advance Torah study and bring some questions about passages in the Torah to “Stump the Rabbi”.  Even though it is technically the first meeting for our Road to Confirmation students (8th through 10th grades), everyone is invited to participate in the service and the Torah un-roll! 


I look forward to seeing all of you during the coming days of awe.  May you all have a year filled with peace, good health and friendship.




Catherine Rosing