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Avodah La'Olam Seventh Grade Philanthropy Project

Year Founded: 
Name of Host Organization: 
Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School
Host Setting: 
Day School
Program Type: 
Teen Foundation
Funding Areas: 
Program Description: 

6th Grade Avodah La'Olam - We explore our commitment to Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, by utilizing both ancient and modern Jewish sources such as Rambam’s Mishneh Torah, Danny Siegel’s groundbreaking work on Tzedakah, current events, and values clarification exercises. Sixth graders journey to discover who they are as individuals and what they stand for. We look at who our heroes are and what these particular people do to make the world a better place. We also explore the role we play as individuals in building a community committed to the value of Tikkun Olam. We will deepen our knowledge of major social challenges facing our local community, our country, countries around the world, and specifically focus in on the needs of Israel, as well. These pre-teens will design and implement their own service projects and set the stage for the award-winning Seventh Grade Philanthropy Project. 7th Grade Avodah La’Olam - Students continue to develop their lifelong commitment to Tikkun Olam during this exciting Bar/Bat Mitzvah year. They explore ethical questions through the study of classical Jewish texts, discussion, and examples. Through a guided process, students discover what values are important to them, and choose an organization that they feel passionate about helping. After researching the organization, the students present the merits of their chosen organization to their classmates through an oral and visual presentation and a persuasive essay. The students work together as a board of directors to allocate their own philanthropy fund, which was collected by pooling a portion of their B’nai Mitzvah gifts, as well as other fundraising activities. In addition to understanding that they can make a difference in the world, students acquire numerous skills including interview techniques, transcript writing, use of primary source documentation in research and the art of persuasion. This year-long project culminates in a moving, nationally acclaimed, community-wide Celebration of Tzedakah in which the students share their experiences and present the funds to their chosen organizations. 8th Grade Avodah La’Olam - In a yearlong exploration, the eighth grade will answer the question: “What comes after the seventh grade Avodah La’Olam Philanthropy Project?” Using numerous sources students will gain a deeper understanding of the issues affecting our world. One of the major projects of this class is weekly tutoring at a local public school in Mountain View. We also partner with a local non-profit organization, My New Red Shoes, to study and work on the issue of homelessness. Other programs consisting of advocacy work are also part of the class. Investments of personal time and long term involvement are the cornerstones of Avodah La’Olam in eighth grade.

Program Contact
Ora Gittelson-David, Jewish Service Learning Coordinator
Work Phone: 
450 San Antonio Road
Palo Alto, CA 94306 US

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