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Tzedakah Learning Series

Welcome to the HEKDESH Tzedakah Learning Series! We are thrilled that you are here and curious about our materials. We hope that they inspire you and those in your community to be increasingly intentional and generous with your charitable donations by exploring the traditions and practice of tzedakah.

We imagine that these materials could be used in a variety of ways. You could use them “as is” in a series. You could use just one session as part of your work or with your friends. You could cut and paste various texts, articles, or discussion questions into something that you are creating.

We invite you to be creative, and just ask that you please reference HEKDESH when you do use the materials and send us a note letting us know ([email protected])! We’re a small, all volunteer organization, and it would delight us to know that you are using the materials that we so lovingly developed.

Here’s a list of topics:

Inspired Tzedakah – Year 1

You, the Tzedakah’ist – Year 1, Session 1 – Getting to know each other and ourselves as givers. How does your personal and family history affect your tzedakah actions and decisions? How do assumptions and stereotypes about giving play a role?

What and How Much Do I Give? – Year 1, Session 2 – What are your motivations for giving? How much is the “right” amount to give, and from where should the money come? How do taxes factor in?

How Might My Giving Transform Me? – Year 1, Session 3 – How can tzedakah help you grow personally or help transform experiences of suffering or loss? How can a tzedakah practice help meet your spiritual needs?

To Whom and Where Do I Give? – Year 1, Session 4 – Is tzedakah an opportunity for expression of our deepest values? Or an obligation to care for those in need? What are helpful models and perspectives for prioritizing among equally worthy organizations/causes?

Creating a Tzedakah Plan – Year 1, Session 5 – How can we best align our desires and our actual practice of tzedakah? Includes time to “workshop” our tzedakah plans for the year.

Tzedakah in Your Everyday Life – YEAR 2

Money and Me – Year 2, Session 1 – What are Jewish approaches to wealth and money? What would a Jewish ethic of money look like? How might those influence your tzedakah choices?

Consumers, Consuming, and Consumption – Year 2, Session 2 – How does your consumption relate to your tzedakah? How do the Torah’s teachings on what we can eat relate to our material consumption and our tzedakah?

The Heart – Year 2, Session 3 – How does generosity of the heart relate to generosity of the wallet? How are receiving and giving related to each other? How might a daily or weekly tzedakah practice impact your generosity and/or your tzedakah?

Planned and Unplanned Giving – Year 2, Session 4 – Is giving a means or an end? What are some of the complexities inherent in giving “well”? Once you have your tzedakah plan, how do you handle requests for donations from friends?

Re-Vision, Renewal, Re-Thinking – Year 2, Session 5 – What percentage of your spending or income is the “right” amount to give to tzedakah and what are some of the considerations in deciding? What culture of giving do you want to see in your family or your community?

Discussing as a group – special for giving circles – where should our money go?
Multiple Hats – What does Jewish wisdom tell us about the responsibility of giving collectively? What are the various ways we can look at the HEKDESH Semi-Finalist organizations that will help us decide how to vote?




For More on Tzedakah Learning: