Avodah LOlam Program teaches students they can make a difference

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The mission of Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School is threefold: to promote academic excellence, community responsibility and vibrant Jewish living.

Our mission is carried out on a daily basis across all grade levels and throughout our entire community. Some examples of our focus on community responsibility include schoolwide community service days, teachers volunteering at Second Harvest Food Bank and families participating in JFCS Chicken Soupers. These opportunities encourage Hausner students to think beyond themselves and care about the greater world around them.

Our seventh-grade Avodah L’Olam Program encompasses all the components of our mission and gives our students an incredible opportunity to make a difference in the world. Students research social issues they are passionate about, volunteer at nonprofit organizations, interview leaders of these organizations, raise funds and write persuasive essays. They form a philanthropic board and determine how to allocate the funds they’ve raised. The class coincides with the b’nai mitzvah year and reinforces the importance of tikkun olam (repairing the world).

Since the program began 12 years ago, over $400,000 has been raised and donated to a multitude of organizations. Students have supported a wide range of organizations, both locally and abroad. The program culminates each spring in our Celebration of Tzedakah.  During the event, our seventh-grade students award funds to the chosen organizations and explain both the process and how they have been impacted.

One of the long-term goals of the program is to lay the groundwork for our students to be actively involved in the community as Jewish philanthropists and social activists. Many of our graduates continue their social activism and philanthropy long after they graduate and remain committed to making the world a better place.