” 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.
- Kindergarteners read ‘Let’s Talk About Race’ by Julius Lester as a part of the school-wide ‘Rashi Reads’ program. Kindergarteners 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.
The Tamchui Project
The Tamchui Project teaches and inspires Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, by honoring non-profit 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 are meeting in the coming weeks to decide what this year’s 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 Middle School students had a busy and productive day of service outside of Rashi’s campus. With each grade going departing on a different field trip, their destinations provided important opportunities for our students to learn from experts in their fields.
Social justice, art, and Spanish became one in a project completed by our Grade 8 Spanish class. Students were tasked with creating Spanish-language comics, addressing themes relating to a global issue of their choice. They were broken into groups, and challenged to...
The Rashi community has been engaged in ways online and in-person, in the classroom and at home, to connect with Ukraine since the start of the conflict in late February 2022. Ukraine Briefing Head of School Adam W. Fischer summarized a briefing on Ukraine earlier...
“Any person, no matter how young or how senior, can make change, and today, they were big change makers.”