Make Our Tzedakah Grow

Tzedakah project focusing on the mitzvah of tikkun olam during Chanukah.

Community Contact Information:
Congregation Or Ami
Calabasas, CA
www.orami.org

Goals:

  • Transform Chanukah from a holiday of receiving presents into a festival of giving tzedakah.
  • Empower congregants to think about new venues for social action.

Overview:
“Make Our Tzedakah Grow” begins each year during the community Chanukah service. A few congregants find a special sign under their seat that instructs them to join the rabbi on the bimah after the sermon, which focuses on the mitzvah of tikkun olam. Those selected congregants are each given $100 from the rabbi’s discretionary fund. The rabbi then instructs them to transform the $100 into a vehicle for social action. The rabbi instructs the participants that they cannot give this money back to the congregation, encouraging them to research new avenues for righteous giving. Each year the participants’ experiences are publicized in the bulletin so that other families may learn new ways of giving tzedakah and reaching out to others.

Results:
Since the Chanukah service is one of Or Ami’s best attended services throughout the year, the rabbi’s message spreads throughout the congregation. Each year, congregants find new ways to do tikkun olam, supporting various programs and designing their own. The project captures the attention of all the congregants as they follow the activities of the project organizers throughout the year.

This program won a Fain Award in 2003.