What Zeesie Saw On Delancey Street Explores Tzedakah
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What Zeesie Saw On Delancey Street Explores Tzedakah

Book Title: What Zeesie Saw on Delancy Street

Author: Elsa Okon Rael

Illustrator: Marjorie Priceman

Jewish Value: Pursue Justice

Book Summary:

Zeesie feels very grown-up indeed! For on this night, her seventh birthday, Zeesie is going to her first package party with Mama and Papa. She even has a brand new dress and a dollar bill -- her birthday gift -- all for herself!
The package party is grand, with great towers of wrapped surprise packages to be auctioned to raise money for other new immigrants to the community. Such wonderful smells, tastes, and sounds, and oh, so much to see...
But as Zeesie soon discovers, not everything and everyplace is meant to be explored, and what she does see that night on Delancey Street leaves her with a new knowledge about giving and receiving.

Topic(s) Addressed:

This resource was created by the PJ Library at the PJ Library Educator's Center. Created for Family programs, this resource and its activities can be utilized, possibly with modifications, in a variety of children's learning environments.

Goals from the resource:

  • "Give families a greater insight into the meaning of Tzedakah
  • Provide a glimpse into Jewish immigrant life in the early 1900s
  • Emphasize the importance of community and especially the Jewish responsibility to community."

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

For the educatorJewish Thought, Text, and Traditionsmore

Jewish every dayIncorporate Jewish Valuesmore

Materials and resourcesmore

Sharing The Storymore

Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Music Connectionsmore

List of All Songs

Consider sharing these songs, with your community (which can be streamed and shared with a spotify account) and/or review related song suggestions, below in "complementary resources" section.
Songs about Tzedakah:


Article and links that might be of interest as you explore this value:

literature connectionsmore

TitleAuthorIllustratorBook Summary
How Dalia Put a Big Yellow Comforter Inside a Tiny Blue Box: And Other Wonders of Tzedakah Linda HellerStacey Dressen McQueenIs Dalia’s little blue box magic—or is the real magic the generosity that helps her fill it?
When Dalia learns about tzedakah, the Jewish tradition of charity and caring, she creates a tzedakah box where she can keep the money she’s saved to help those in need.  Her little brother Yossi is curious about the Hebrew letters painted on the box. "Are those letters magic?" he asks. They must be because Dalia tells him she's putting a big yellow comforter, a butterfly bush, and a banana cream pie inside of it! How ever will she do it?
Though there may be joy in receiving, Dalia’s story serves as a powerful reminder that the greatest joy of all comes from giving generously to others.
The Brother's Promise Frances HarberThor WickstromA retelling of the old Talmudic story about brothers caring for each other. Yankel and Josef, brothers and equal heirs to Chayim's prosperous farm, encounter their first harsh season in which the farm doesn't produce any food. Remembering their father's final words to help one another, the brothers secretly bring food to each other.
* PJ library Books
Lesson Contributors