Tzedakah lessons take root at BDHS

Seventh-graders at Brandeis Hillel Day School in San Francisco have donated more than $17,500 to 17 charitable organizations that they researched and selected on their own, school officials announced last week.

To raise that amount for the Tzedek Project, BHDS seventh-grade families pool funds that would otherwise go toward purchasing b’nai mitzvah gifts and instead create a class fund for philanthropic purposes. Students spend a semester researching organizations that interest them and then decided as a class how much to donate to each.

Other BHDS grades got into the acts of tzedakah, as well. First-graders raised $1,000 for the SPCA with a read-a-thon and a run; fourth-graders picked up trash as part of a cleanup initiative; and sixth-graders helped clean up invasive species at Stow Lake.

The seventh-grade project is called the Service Learning Initiative. The biggest donations went to the San Francisco Food Bank ($2,710), the USO ($2,018), the Make-A-Wish Foundation ($1,765), Seneca Center ($1,765) and Nothing But Nets ($1,618).