As the seven students in Sheri Levin’s kindergarten Hebrew school file into their classroom, Sheri asks her students if they have brought any tzedakah for Global Playground today.
Tzedakah, or charity in Hebrew, means the small allowance the students have earned in the past week from doing chores around the house. Each Hebrew school class at Temple Sinai in Farmington, Connecticut can choose where they donate that money.
Sheri’s and her daughter Mandy’s first grade class donates the money to Global Playground.
“We teach the children to be Jewish is to give back. We teach them that they should want to bring in money each week, it doesn’t matter how much, and they can pick the cause,” Sheri said.
Sheri became familiar with Global Playground when her son Adam Levin began to consider applying to the Global Playground’s Teaching Fellowship. Adam Levin is currently the Teaching Fellow in Honduras and will be returning to the U.S. in September.
While at home for a visit in January, Adam visited the temple to talk to Sheri’s class about Global Playground. He brought pictures, videos, and homemade jewelry from Honduras with him.
“When Adam came it kind of all came to life,” Sheri said. “We wanted to get them to understand first what this is all about, what Global Playground is and where Honduras is.”
Sheri and Adam taught the class about the customs in his Honduran village, including how the kids dressed and ate and where they go to school.
“I wanted them to understand that not all children are like them,” Sheri said. “I’m hoping that when they get older, they might volunteer. I hope they see someone doing it now and think that maybe they could do it one day.”
At the end of May, Sheri and her class set up a table at the Hebrew school’s Mitzvah Day to talk about Global Playground. Mitzvah Day is a day where the whole temple participates in a kind of service. Sheri had her students teach the other students about their yearlong fundraiser.
The two Hebrew school classes raised a total of $300 during the academic year.