11 Mar The More Tzedakah, The More Shalom. Pirkei Avot 2:8

Amy Martin, Special Guest Columnist, Third Grade Teacher, and Community Service Coordinator

At Schechter Manhattan, we are working to enact this mishna through our annual TzedakahRoundtable. As in years past, students will be thinking critically about where to donate their classroom tzedakah money. What I love about the Tzedakah Roundtable is how it empowers our students to be agents for change in our world and pushes them to think how they’d like to make this change. We have selected organizations that are intentionally very different from each other. We want your children to grapple with the questions of how to prioritize their giving.  Is it important for them to support local non-profits, or do they prefer to help Israelis in need? Do they believe in supporting larger organizations with big budgets that do advocacy work or do they think it’s more important to give to grassroots organizations?

We are asking parents to be our partners on this project. This week the Tzedakah Roundtable packet was sent home to all Schechter Manhattan families. Parents are asked to take the time to sit with their children and read through the packet. For younger children, parents may have to do some “meaning-making” and summarizing to help them understand the task at hand. We hope parents and children will ponder the questions of giving- who we help and why? – as they live the Jewish value of chesed. Then, once they have had a discussion around these questions of giving, families will talk through the organizations that we have selected and fill out a choice form together.

Each child is asked to prioritize what organizations he or she believes are most deserving of his or her classroom’s tzedakah money. The choice form should be sent back to school with the children byFriday, March 18th. On that day, we will have our Tzedakah Roundtable Kickoff. Classes will be debating where to donate their money, choosing from the four organizations from our TzedakahRoundtable packet. Each student will be asked to present their choice and the reasoning behind the choice. Each year, these discussions are some of my favorite moments in our classroom. They are full of  rich dialogue as children question and debate how to best donate our classroom tzedakahmoney.

In partnership with parents, our students become philanthropists who give thoughtfully and are conscious of the necessity to make a difference in the world around them. Here’s to a wonderful, thought provoking, and generous Tzedakah Roundtable.

Author’s Chair



The students in Kitah Aleph have been writing poems 


Anger is red.
It sounds like a Dragin.
It smels Like Brnt Bon [burnt buns].
It tase Like marrow [maror].
It Looks Like a tornaDoW.
Angr feels Like HateriD [hatred].


When I Am 100 Years Old

I will be week.
I will like candy.
I will wear a teesert [t-shirt].
I will smell a grdin [garden].
I will eat cicin [chicken].
I will be friends with my wife.
I will have a dog.
I will want 1000000$.
I will read noosp papees [newspapers].
I will play ches.



happiness is Pinck
it sounds like Burds chirping
it tastes like the wind in my mawth [mouth]
it look like the sun in your fas
it feels like the wind in your hans [hands]




Sadness is Red
it sounds like babies crying.
It smells like a stuffy nose.
It tastes like salty tears.
It looks like pouty people all over the world.
Sadness feels like a warm blanket.



Kitah Gimmel just finished a writing unit about “small moments”. 


My Slumber Party

At my slumber party, all the guests came in with presents for me in colorful bags. We played games like Truth or Dare. The guests started doing dares that were funny to the person who told them but not to them. Someone dared their friend to do opera. They couldn’t do it well. Their voice stayed low and they giggled while they sang, but they had to do it because it was a dare. Everyone laughed. Someone else said, “Do the Macarena!” Then, we all watched “Charlotte’s Web” in our comfy sleeping bags. We paused the movie to try my cake but we didn’t like the filling inside. Instead, we ate freezing ice cream. I felt the bumpy cone through my fingers and I could smell a strong chocolate smell. I tasted the smooth chocolate in my mouth. Then, we all got ready for bed. There was loud chit-chat and a lot of giggling. “Hee-hee!”. It was so loud, my friends were keeping me awake. I thought I’d never sleep.  At first I was really tired, then slowly I closed my eyes, and finally I fell asleep at the end of my first slumber party birthday.

–Nina G.


One day on the Big Island

As I arrived to the Big Island, I heard crickets chirping and I could see fireflies glowing. When I got to my hotel, I was exhausted so I fell into a strong sleep right away. The next morning when I felt the sun brush on my face, it was like a bomb of flash in my face. Outside the window, the rain forest was full of plants, trees and flowers in every single shade of green you can think of. The leaves looked smooth and the branches seemed rough and hard. I was so excited for the first day in Hawaii that I put my bathing suit on quickly. It was a neon orange suit with neon pink, green and blue tulips. After I got ready, I ran down to the pool, panting because I was running so much and dove into the pool. The pool felt freezing on my warm soft skin. When I went into the pool, I got super chilly and cold. After a long while, I went to the hot tub. It was steamy, hot and bubbly. When I went to the hot tub, I met a friendly named Molly. Molly was a very nice girl from Canada. I also met another sweet friend called Makayla. “What books do you like?”, I asked her. “I like comics”, she replied.  We spent the morning together and then went to get breakfast from the hotel buffet. I had scrambled eggs, french toast, waffles, pancakes, guava juice. It tasted natural and fresh. It was a great first morning.

–Arielle S.


Leaving Israel for America

We went to the taxi. The taxi was big. Our family helped us put the bags in the taxi. Next, my mom, my dad , my sister, my brother, my grandma and I took the taxi to the airport. We went in to put the bags on to the stroller. We went through security. We said goodbye to our family and I felt sad. Last, we went to the duty free shop. My dad bought us burgers. They were yummy. We sat next to a pretty fountain and went to get my grandma insurance. Finally, we boarded the plane. The view was beautiful.



My 9th Birthday Party

This year we went to Bowlmore Lanes for my birthday party.  All of my boy school friends and my boy camp friends came.  My family was there also, my mom, dad, Benji, and Eliana.  I felt really happy and excited for my party because it was my birthday.  We were in a bowling alley in Times square.  We had three clear and shiny lanes to play on.  It was noisy in the bowling alley.  I heard bowling balls rolling and hitting the pins, and voices of people talking. “Happy Birthday!” said my friend Anthony.  After bowling three games, we all went to the arcade. All of us got $5 that my family paid for.  Afterwards the other parents could give their kids more money if they wanted too.  After playing in the arcade, we got prizes depending on how many points we got.  Some things you could win was a remote control car or stuffed animals.  The cars looked shiny and were dark red.  There were stuffed bears, lions, and dogs.  They were about the size of my face and were really fuzzy.  I’ll never forget the day of my 9th birthday party.

–Ari W.


The day I almost missed my field trip

On the day our class was supposed to go to the NY Hall of Science, my Dad and I went to the doctor very early in the morning. I was worried I was going to miss the field trip. I sat on the maroon brownish bed in the doctor’s office. The white paper on top of the bed crinkled. Quietly, I waited for what felt like forever. The window was open and we heard the wind outside. I was extremely annoyed because it took a super long time for the doctor to come. My dad had to feed the meter. I was left there by myself and I felt lonely. The doctor saw me, finally, and my dad and I quickly drove me to 126 street. The car shook as we rushed to meet the rest of my 3rd grade class. I was excited to meet the bus and go on our field trip. When we got to 126th street my dad said “I think it will take 10 minutes for the bus to come.” I said “ It will take 5 minutes for the bus to arrive.” We heard cars running by, the sirens of ambulances went by, and we saw lights from police cars. Then, my dad and I sprinted to the bus so we would not miss the bus. We barely looked left and right while we were crossing the street.I  was thinking finally the bus is here. I got on. Everybody clapped, finally I would go on the field trip!

–David W.