Blog  Jewish Life Update Week 4: Giving Until It Feels Good

Jewish Life Update Week 4: Giving Until It Feels Good

Every year, our Ofarim campers work all first session to learn about tzedakah––from its Biblical roots to why and how they can give. Each camper has the opportunity to select one of three issue areas: environment, discrimination, or poverty, to explore further. They learn some surprising things as well. For example, advocating for a cause often means getting out of the way so people who are most affected can have their voices heard. Asking people for money is an opportunity to help someone feel good about themselves by giving them a clear purpose and a way to make a difference. Finally, many of the statistics on these issues have improved over the years that we have taught this curriculum! We are, in fact, slowly but surely making a difference.

Every unit in camp visits Ofarim’s Tzedakah Fair. Each camper receives five beads which they use to vote for different organizations they would like to support. Alana, an Ofarim camper, said the fair helped “to raise awareness and money for important organizations.” Girls at the Feminist Majority Foundation booth chose their organization when they overheard a boy at tetherball say disparagingly, “You got beat by a girl.” As Phoebe L. explained, “We’re trying to make sure everyone knows that feminism is important.” Similarly, Dylan realized some of the impact he was having: “It makes the people running the causes feel better by helping the cause they’re really passionate about. It helps them, and it helps their cause.”

Please click on the links below to learn about these organizations. Maybe you will be moved to give until you feel good as well!

Campers supported Greenpeace to help save the Arctic. This organization will receive $120.

The Xerces Society is working to protect bees and other invertebrates. They will receive $70 of the money we collected.

The welfare of animals was another important cause. The World Wildlife Fund and the ASPCA will receive $60 and $180, respectively.

A local food bank, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, will get $60 of our leftover trip day money and matching funds.

Campers also care a lot about supporting people with cancer. This year they chose the Jimmy Fund ($60), Sunrise Day Camps ($80), and Make-a-Wish Foundation ($120).

To fight discrimination, they highlighted the Feminist Majority Foundation ($80), the ACLU ($100) and the Trevor Project ($80), which works to prevent suicide in the teen LGBTQ population.

Kol hakavod, Ofarim!