June 22, 2024
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June 22, 2024
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Jewish Communal Fund’s Tamar Snyder Leads Giving Circle at Ma’ayanot High School

The 10th graders at Ma’ayanot High School experienced the joys and challenges of engaging in thoughtful and strategic philanthropy as part of their Interdisciplinary Day focused on Philanthropy & Poverty. Students participated in a 90-minute Giving Circle, which awarded a $200 grant to Meir Panim, an organization based in Israel that helps needy Israelis break out of the cycle of poverty and become self-sufficient. The Giving Circle was led by Tamar Snyder, a Teaneck resident who serves as the Marketing & Communications Director at Jewish Communal Fund, the country’s largest Jewish donor–advised fund, which grants out nearly $300 million to charity each year.

After exploring the Jewish values behind the mitzvah of tzedakah, as well as other motivations for giving, students thoughtfully grappled with the questions that many of us face:

Should I focus my giving locally or globally?

Should I give to Jewish charities or to everyone?

Do I focus on giving to organizations supporting people in need, or to educational organizations?

How do I balance these different priorities?

How do I define “the greatest need”?

Each group of students received profiles of three poverty-related charities, which they then researched online by visiting the charities’ websites to learn more about their respective missions. Then, one representative from each group pitched their top-choice charity to the entire grade, making the case for why that charity deserves to receive the $200 donation. The 10th graders’ pitches were very persuasive. Among the charities pitched were Hebrew Free Burial Association, Mazon, Tomchei Shabbos of Bergen County, Yad Eliezer, Charity:Water and many other Jewish and secular organizations.

Students came away from the experience with a nuanced understanding of what it means to be proactive and strategic with one’s limited tzedakah resources. Philanthropy is very rewarding—but it sure isn’t simple to maximize one’s impact.

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