” Justice, justice you shall pursue “
– Deuteronomy 16:20
Tzedek (justice), one of Rashi’s five core values, is the heart of our curriculum and an essential part of our identity as a community. Tikkun olam (repairing the world) is part of our sacred mission.
We offer an integrated and progressive social justice curriculum beginning in Kindergarten and continuing through Grade 8. Our program creates opportunities for critical thinking, self-awareness, self-reflection, personal growth, and empowerment.
We introduce real-life, present-day issues that help students gain a deeper understanding of situations and societal trends at the local, national, and global level. At an early age, our students begin to build a foundation for advocacy and awareness by engaging in dialogues in a safe space, reading thought-proving texts, and hearing from guest speakers who offer different perspectives.
Our work with each grade is thoughtful, deliberate, relevant, developmentally appropriate, presented within a spiral curriculum, and always based on Jewish text. We help students derive meaning from texts which were written years ago by examining them critically to find relevance to their lives today.
Creating Enduring Understandings
Units correspond to important moments in the calendar, from MLK Jr. Day to Passover. Each unit has core texts, essential questions, and enduring understandings. For example, in Grade 3, students will learn stories of immigration to the Lower East Side. Essential questions will include: Why are workers’ rights a social justice Issue? Why is immigration a social justice issue? They will read literature and stories including The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco and Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser.
Right now, students across the school are learning empathy, problem-solving, and perspective-taking.
- Kindergartners read ‘Let’s Talk About Race’ by Julius Lester as a part of the school-wide ‘Rashi Reads’ program. Kindergartners discussed how to get to know someone by learning all of the parts of their story, including a person’s race.
- Grade 2 students learned about a Tzedakah Hero named April DiDonna who works at a drive-through and was on a mission to tell each customer after they ordered that they were loved, that they mattered, and that they were cared about. Students were inspired by Ms. DiDonna and wrote in the style and spirit of her to uplift people’s spirits at school.
- Middle School students are working together in ‘house meetings’ to select issue areas to teach the younger grades about as a part of Tamchui.
Tamchui Gets a new Title: The Suzanne and Bernard Pucker Tamchui Program
Leslie and Ken Pucker P’11, ’13 deeply value Rashi’s social justice education—the seamless weaving of tikkun olam (repairing the world) into every corner of the curriculum. Their daughters, Hannah ’11 and Bella ’13, still carry their Rashi social justice learnings with them today. Leslie and Ken along with Ken’s brother and sister-in-law, Michael and Gigi Pucker, recently made a generous philanthropic commitment to Rashi’s RISE campaign to ensure Rashi and its impact can thrive for years to come. In recognition of their support, Tamchui will now be named The Suzanne and Bernard Pucker Tamchui Program in honor of Ken and Michael’s parents, who share a deep commitment to social justice. We are grateful for the Pucker family’s generosity and we are pleased to honor them in this way!
The Suzanne and Bernard Pucker Tamchui Program
The Tamchui Program teaches and inspires Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, by honoring nonprofit organizations. It introduces students to organizational leadership while the school community (faculty, staff, parents, students, and alumni) raise money for Tamchui (community collection pot). The program empowers students to make philanthropic choices in determining how tamchui funds are allocated among the honorees.
Tamchui opens the hearts and minds of the school community to learn about issues impacting our world today, and to meet non-profits that are responding to these challenges in powerful ways. Tamchui is an annual tzedakah tradition at Rashi, in fulfillment of the mitzvah of giving gifts to those in need.
Tamchui empowers our Middle School students to be leaders and teachers, collectively selecting the issues that are most meaningful to them, and then teaching those issues to the younger grades at Rashi. In the 20-21 years, Mental Health, Animal Welfare, and Climate Change were the three issue areas. Middle Schoolers start meeting in early winter to decide what the year’s topics will be!
Tamchui creates educated, compassionate philanthropists, empowering our students to make informed choices. Tamchui opens students’ eyes to what is possible, widening their world, increasing their imagination and understanding of what is possible.
Blog Post and News
Rashi's Grade 7 class embarked last week on its first-ever civil rights trip through the American South. This four-day trip, which was years in the making, took students through Atlanta, Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma to witness historic sites of the U.S. civil...
Tamchui 2022-23 came to a heartfelt and celebratory close this week with a school-wide assembly. The entire Rashi student body reflected on their new knowledge about women’s health, the war in Ukraine, and healthcare access overall. They learned from and taught their...
Week 3 of Rashi’s Tamchui (Aramaic for “community collection pot”) project began with great enthusiasm and a deep understanding of the previous two weeks: education week and meet the reps week. Lower School students have been taught by their Middle School peers about...
Following a successful Education Week, Rashi welcomed representatives from this year’s nonprofits for the next phase of Tamchui—Meet the Reps Week. The organizations each grade heard from were previewed by the Middle School students last week, connecting their lessons...