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Program Resource Round-Up: Jewish Values

By, Alana Hollander, JTFN Program Associate

It’s never too early to start thinking about how to infuse Jewish values in your teen philanthropy program.  Before mission statements, nonprofits and RFP’s come into play, values exploration will help set the tone for the year.  Teens will have the opportunity to identify what is important to them and in turn, discover how their personal values may align with Jewish values.  This journey will ultimately lead to identifying group values and constructing a mission statement.  What is more, with thoughtful and meaningful exploration, Jewish-values will then be present throughout the entire program-year helping to drive the teen experience and decision-making process. 

Camp Resource: Introduction and Values Clarification Resource by JTFN

This resource is three for the price of one! Originally written as part of the JTFN camp curriculum, this resource outlines three sample Jewish values program activities including The Values Game, Making Tzedakah Boxes, and The Values Auction. Also included is the Raising the Bar idea page, which offers a variety of shorter activities that, also can be integrated into your program. What I love about this resource is that it provides context for values identification and clarification in a fun and interactive way. Each activity could stand on its own or could be combined together. Add or subtract content and make it your own!

Tzedakah Lessons Resource by Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego

From the Jewish Community Foundation in San Diego, the Tzedakah Lessons resource challenges students by asking them to explore the similarities and differences between Charity, Tzedakah and Gemilut Chasidim. Each participant gets a small taste of the decision making and allocation process that lay in store for them while also exploring their own personal values.  Through this structure teens are then able to zoom out and assess how intentionality can have an impact on how and why we give.  Consider updating the sample giving stories within to increase the relevance to your own community and teens. 

Giving Jewishly Texts Resource by Rose Youth Foundation

The Giving Jewishly Texts resource was shared with us by the Rose Youth Foundation in Denver.  Especially helpful when considering conversations on giving priorities through a Jewish lens, this resource outlines several texts on giving.  A great reference guide and supplement for your activities and conversations, it includes Maimonides eight levels of tzedakah, the order of priority for giving tzedakah, the order of priority for communal funds, Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and more.  Dive in deeper and link your giving priorities conversation with values identification and clarification!  Rose Youth Foundation produced Jewish Philanthropic Values Cares which are a great tool for teens to use for exploration and reflection.  To learn more, contact Emily Kornhauser, Initiatives Assistant at Rose Youth Foundation.

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