Tzedakah Begins at Home (lesson 2 of 3)
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Tzedakah Begins at Home (lesson 2 of 3)

Lesson Summary:

This lesson focuses on eight levels of tzedakah (charity) that were identified by a great Jewish thinker known as Rabbi Moses Maimonides. Students will investigate various ways to give charity and gain an appreciation of how people give of their time, talent or treasure. They will create their own tzedakah box to begin collecting money at home.

This lesson is part of a unit called "Opening Our Hearts and Hands to Others" from, a resource that offers philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement. 

Unit Purpose:
Using traditional Jewish texts as a basis, students explore the concept of tzedakah (charity). Students are engaged in acts of tzedakah (charity) for the good of the communities to which they belong.

Focus Questions: Why is tzedakah important for the giver and the receiver? How can I be involved in tzedakah?

The other lessons in this unit are:
Giving Is Getting
A Community of Givers


The learner will:

  • identify eight levels of tzedakah (charitable giving). 
  • role-play scenarios that demonstrate how to give each type of charity. 
  • create a tzedakah box to take home.

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


Student copies of Attachment One: Summary of Laws of Giving
Poster board: draw a ladder with eight wide rungs on it
Note cards: enough to make one set of eight laws for every three students plus one set for the teacher (See Attachment Two: Eight Levels of Tzedakah)
One small container with a lid for each student (such as found in the sandwich bag area of the grocery store); Cut a slit in the lids large enough for coins
Permanent markers
Handout 2: Eight Levels of Tzedakah
Handout 3: Ladder of the Eight Levels of Tzedakah


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Music Connectionsmore


Lesson Contributors

Lesson from:, a resource that offers philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement. This lesson plan offers a guide to using several folktales and parables to extend student understanding about giving and gratitude.

republished with permision