Geared towards ages 6-13
Written by Rachel Salkin
The word Tzedakah means justice, but has come to mean charity. Tzedakah is an obligation to do the right thing. The Torah even specifies how much we should give whether it is crops in our fields, or money.
Goals: Using the song Keep on Giving from the CD Lenny Solomon: Manual for the Moral Minded and GH2 to stress the idea that charity provides a balance in society. If G-d chooses to bless us with money we should distribute some of it to those less fortunate. "There but for the grace of G-d go I."
Other related Shlock Rock Songs: "Reaping for 6 Years" from the CD Sgt. Shlockers Magical History Tour, Keep on Giving from the CD Greatest Hits 2, "Someone Else's Place" from the CD Jewish Pride, "Give a Tenth" from the CD Lenny and the Shlockers, "Sing a Song of Tzedaka" from the CD Shlock Rock for kids Volume 1 and "Tzedaka Song" from the CD Shlock Rock for Kids Party Time!
Materials Needed: CD player, copies of the lyrics (available here.), four boxes of coins, four baskets of “rich man’s” clothing (nice hat, coat, brief case and button hole flower), 4 baskets of “poor man’s” clothes (old coat, battered hat, fingerless gloves and a begging cup).
Step One: Brainstorm the question - why give tzedakah? Write the children's responses on the board. Encourage the class to think of charity as a token of appreciation for our G-d-given gifts, as a way to show sympathy for others less fortunate, as a duty to correct social injustice…etc.
Hand out the lyric and play the song. See if the class can find additional reasons for giving to charity in the song. What does the song say that reinforces the discussion?
"…I was walking away but the man said stop, Ya gotta listen a little more,
I used to always scoff at people like me, Lying there on the floor,
Now it seems the tables are turned, But there's a lesson you must learn,
Try to understand what I've been through, And get me on track again…"
Step Two (for younger children): The Charity Relay Race Game - Make sure the rules are very well understood by the class. Play this game in an open area if possible.
Divide the class into 4 groups. Line each group up.
Place the basket with the rich man's clothes in front of the first child in each group. Then place the baskets with the poor man's clothes at the other end of the room.
Play the song “Keep on Giving”. When the music begins, the first child in each line runs to the poor man's basket and begins dressing while the second child dresses in the rich man's clothes. The "rich man" takes a coin and runs to the "poor man" and deposits the coin in the cup.
Both children take off props. Child 1 runs to back of his group and child 2 runs and dresses as poor man. Child 3 dresses as rich man takes a coin and runs to deposit it in poor man's cup…and so on until the song ends.
The winning group is the one with the most coins in their poor man's cup at the end of the song.
Conclusion: This is a lively way to introduce a serious subject and the game will stick in your students' minds. After the game, or the next day, it is worth reviewing the content of the song. Follow up with other discussions about what the class should do with their classes’ Tzedakah money collected throughout the year. What other tzedakah projects would the class like to take on? (Collecting school supplies for area schools, money for Israel, winter clothing drive, food drives, etc…)