“So, too, they set up collectors that take bread and produce or money from every courtyard from whomever donates it at that time on each day.
They distribute that which was collected among the poor.
This is what is called the Tamhui.”

Mishneh Torah

IMG_0817Each Chanukah, children at Mirowitz are reminded that Tikkun Olam requires responsible decision making, deep thought, and even a bit of math!

After learning about five organizations that are working to better the world, students willingly forfeit a night of Chanukah gifts in order to contribute money to the school tamchui — Hebrew for collection pot. They then must think deeply about how they want to allocate those dollars.

The choice is never easy. All of the organizations work to make the world a better place. They feed the hungry in Israel, provide comfort to children receiving medical care or address poverty in third-world countries. They send sick children to summer camp or provide therapy that helps children walk and talk. So many meaningful options, and Mirowitz students must learn to think deeply about what most inspires them.

During each day of Chanukah, students are given two tokens to allocate to one of five chosen beneficiary organizations. The week ends with Tamhui Math Day. Some classes are responsible for counting all of the tokens in each tzedakah jar. Some classes calculate the total number of checks, coins and bills in our tamhui. Older students divide the total number of tokens by the amount of money collected, and figure how much tzedakah we will send to each organization.

In addition to the obvious mathematical lessons, students learn the responsibilities of being philanthropists. They feel significant in their ability to improve the world. And they learn to count their blessings.