Cari Eilene Kleinman was a beloved fourth grader and a member of Congregation Adath Jeshurun who died in August 1990. An annual essay contest is held in her name, in remembrance of her love for reading and her strong Jewish identity.
The 19th Annual Cari Kleinman Memorial Essay Contest invited all fourth graders in the community to write about “What I Know About Tzedakah and How I Have Given Tzedakah in My Home, Community or Elsewhere.” Each essay was assigned a number so that the panel of judges could review each submission anonymously.
The winner of this year’s contest, Dana Hubscher, was announced at the KATS end-of-the-year closing ceremony on Sunday, April 25, at the Jewish Community Center. Dana is the daughter of AJ members Lori and Dr. Charles Hubscher.
Dorrie Zimmerman, Cari’s aunt, presented the prize of a $100 U.S. Savings bond to Dana.
Here is Dana’s winning essay:
According to a Jew, what possibly would be the best way to donate money, time and items such as clothing and food to fundraisers or places in need of that? I’ll give you a hint. It is one word and starts with a T. What? You still don’t know? Tzedakah, of course.
In this essay, I will be informing you what I do to donate tzedakah and what I know about tzedakah. Some of the most important times I give tzedakah are every Friday night when my family and I celebrate the Sabbath, when I go to Sunday School, in school, when we did a fundraiser for Haiti, and after our annual garage sale when we take items we don’t sell to Goodwill. According to a Jew, the best way to donate money, time and items such as clothing and food is through tzedakah!
First of all, I will be informing you about how I give tzedakah on Friday nights, Shabbat! My sister and I take money that my mom and dad collected from loose change during the week that they place on the counter in a pile. We go grab the tzedakah, just excited to put the money in the box. My sister and I split the money evenly or almost evenly, and we put the money in the box. Once the box is full, one of us take the tzedakah box to Sunday school with us and turns it in to one of the staff in the office either at Temple Shalom (where I go to Sunday school), or at AJ (where my sister goes to Sunday school). What about a prize you may be asking? The wonderful feeling of donating tzedakah!
Second, I will be informing you as about another way that I donate tzedakah and this time also what I know about tzedakah. On Sunday mornings, while I am eating, my dad hands me a dollar and tells me this is for tzedakah at Sunday school. The dollar is part of the allowance I get for doing chores around the house. So once I get in my Sunday school classroom at Temple Shalom, I search the room for the blue tzedakah box and once I find the blue box, I put my dollar bill in the box and feel happy to donate tzedakah.
Something I know about tzedakah is for me, you don’t do it because you have to, you do it because you want to. Like in the song “We are the World” by Michael Jackson. The song says “There’s a choice we’re making. We’re saving our own lives.” That basically says that by helping others, we ARE saving our own lives. So think about that, for me??
Tzedakah is not just about donating money, but your time as well. Another way that I donated tzedakah is the time in the school year of 2009-2010, the Student Council (one boy and one girl from each class) in which I am in, did an amazing fundraiser called “Hearts off to Haiti” in which Wilder Elementary School raised over 2,000 dollars to make water pumps in Haiti. Even though not all the student council is Jewish, it’s still giving tzedakah, in my words!!
Yet another way that I donate tzedakah is at our neighborhood garage sale every year in about mid June. My family and I go through our basement, rooms and places like that, and we pull out clothes that don’t fit anymore, toys we have grown out of, and maybe a few things that my parents don’t need anymore. After that, my family and I put it in the garage sale to sell. What my family doesn’t sell at the garage sale, we take to Goodwill, and then who knows who enjoys it??
I hope you enjoyed reading my essay of just four ways I have donated tzedakah. By every Friday night, I put money in the tzedakah box, at Sunday school I put money in the box, my school’s fundraiser called “Hearts off to Haiti”, and how we take things we don’t sell at the garage sale and take it to Goodwill. Don’t forget, according to a Jew, the best possible way to donate money is through tzedakah!
Girl who wrote this essay