What guidance can we derive from Jewish wisdom?
- Tzedakah is an obligation.
- There is Jewish thinking that can help us decide when to give, to whom to give, what to give, how to give.
- When should I give?
- To whom should I give?
- How much should I give?
- What is my obligation to determine if the money I am giving is being put to good use?
- A traditional and detailed explanation of Jewish thinking about tzedakah is at this link, Just Tzedakah. The site appears not to be maintained currently, and the links may not be active, but the information is well-cited and clear
- My Jewish Learning has a brief presentation of the rules governing tzedakah, and includes the question of how to determine if a claim is honest
- Maimonides described 8 degrees of tzedakah, which you can read about here
- Read the information at www.scambusters.com/ and http://www.charitynavigator.org/, two websites that evaluate the authenticity of groups collecting money for various causes, including disaster relief in Haiti
- A Conservative perspective on tzedakah is given in this post
- URJ has responded to the earthquake in Haiti in the following ways: Earthquake in Haiti
- USCJ has the following opportunity to give to Haiti: Disaster Relief Fund - Give to Haiti
- The Orthodox Union has a Facebook page you can access concerning Haiti relief
- JRF has a page with links to a number of different reliable organizations which are accepting donations and aiding Haiti
- Learners will make informed decisions about donating to disaster relief in Haiti
- Learners will be able to explain how Jewish wisdom and thought guides decisions they make in their lives
- Learners will use what they have learned in regard to Haiti to guide their tzedakah in other areas.
You may want to have this discussion with your students, and perhaps invite a member of the clergy in your school to participate in the conversation.
Part of our job as Jewish educators is to empower our students of all ages to make responsible decisions guided by Jewish thinking, and responding to the tragedy in Haiti can help us do just that.