Modeling generosity

The first grade student beamed with pride while surveying the 1,000 cans piled in our entryway that we’ve collected for local food banks. Recounting what he’s learned about tzedekah from his teachers, he explained to me that he now feels an obligation to help others. During our conversation, we talked about the many ways people choose to help, including donating to JCDSRI. He took my hand gently, saying:

“Andrea, would you tell all those friends ‘thank you’ from us? Their giving money to JCDSRI means a lot to us. ‘Cause this is my happy place. I want to grow up and help children learn in a school like this. Oh – I am so happy they care for us.”

In that moment, I realized that the impact of our donors goes far beyond supporting our educational program. The people who contribute to our school serve as powerful role models for our young students, demonstrating – in the words of Mister Rogers – that “one of the greatest dignities of humankind is that each successive generation is invested in the welfare of each new generation.”  Our school’s hundreds of graduates carry with them the understanding that they were once beneficiaries of another’s kindness and, in return, they are committed to giving back. They are working hard to make the world a better place: collaborating with locals in developing nations to ensure the accessibility of safe drinking water, founding innovative and thriving centers for Jewish learning, volunteering with young children who are struggling to gain literacy skills, and connecting with others through their humor, music, or athletic skills.

Within the next month, we will kickoff our Annual Campaign. The support of our donors is vital as we continue to enhance our programs, including our security and technology upgrades, our partnerships with Brown University and the Islamic School of RI, the addition of a school social worker and extra reading support personnel, and the opening of the Lillian Denn Newman and Sylvia Vogel Zimet Learning Center. We recognize that this degree of momentum isn’t possible without our partners who know the value of a JCDSRI education.

Each and every gift we receive makes a significant difference. In the Babylonian Talmud, it says that “the world endures only for the sake of the breath of schoolchildren.” Thank you for joining us as we continue our sacred work.