San Diego Jewish Academy students focus on unique project to give back to the community and beyond during Hanukkah

Canine Companions is one of the charities students will make presentations about to the entire student body.

During Hanukkah, as many children are excited to receive presents, students at San Diego Jewish Academy are focusing on giving back to their community and beyond through a charitable project that reflects the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam – “Repairing the World.”

The project is known as Tamchui, which is an Aramaic word that means “community collection pot.” For their Tamchui project, 8th graders received presentations from four different organizations including Friendship Circle, Cake4Kids, Canine Companions for Independence, and Lev Lalev, a girls’ orphanage in Netanaya, Israel. Over the next two weeks, students will make presentations to the entire student body about each charity. Then all SDJA students will “donate” by placing poker chips in the “fishbowl boxes” of their charity of choice, in a festive room lined with posters of each charity. The culmination of the event will take place on Friday, Jan. 18, when the charities will be presented with giant checks in support of their organization.

“We wanted to use Hanukkah as a moment to teach our students that giving back can be more important than focusing on material gifts,” says Chaim Heller, Head of School at San Diego Jewish Academy, who teaches 8th graders as part of the charitable education program at the school. “Through this project, students not only are learning about impactful charities, but they are experiencing how much they can do to create positive change and to support those in need in the world.”

Heller’s 8th grade class also selected a 5th charity, Make-A-Wish San Diego, to be a part of the Tamchui project too, in addition to making presentations to their fellow students on the four charities that already are participating.

“Canine Companions for Independence is honored and excited to share our mission of providing expertly-trained assistance dogs to help enhance the lives of people with disabilities hand in hand with the students of the San Diego Jewish Academy,” said Joanne Mueller, development director for Canine Companions for Independence.

--News release