This parent, who sent her three children to Rashi over the past 14 years, shared her thoughts at the staff meeting at the beginning of the day on Meet the Representatives Day during the 2017 Rashi Purim Tamchui Project.
It is my honor and privilege to speak about the Tamchui Program and what it has meant to my family and me over the past 14 years.
I have 3 children who all attended The Rashi School. My youngest is now a 7th grader here and my eldest is a 20-year-old sophomore in college. We have been living in the Boston area for 18 years; my husband and I are originally from Montreal, Canada, attended day school ourselves and belonged to a Conservadox Temple. Because of our strong Jewish upbringing and connection to the Jewish community, we knew that we wanted to keep the cycle going and send our children to day school as well. The big question for us became, which one? When it was time to inquire about an elementary school for our eldest daughter, Rebecca, it seemed that because of our Conservative background, that we would probably be very aligned and comfortable at a Conservative Day School. However, before signing on the dotted line, a wise friend gently encouraged us to take a look at The Rashi School and to keep our options open. Am I ever glad that she did!
As I reflect back, I remember that when we learned about the Rashi Purim Tamchui Project, there was no turning back. Tamchui was the tipping point for us. Despite not identifying as much with Reform Judaism, I remembered feeling that the exposure that Rashi Purim Tamchui could offer our children in terms of philanthropy, the non-profit world, and the basic notion of Tikkun Olam and repairing the world would be invaluable and completely aligned with who we are philosophically as individuals.
As new parents, this idea spoke to the parents we hoped to be and the values that we wanted to impart to our children.
A decision was made and it felt so right. The Tamchui program was the deal breaker for us, most definitely. Each year, we've loved Tamchui for what it is and in the back of our minds, we have hoped that it would have a lasting impact.
Fast forward 14 years...
Please bear with me while I excerpt a portion of my eldest daughter's personal statement on her application for a summer internship at a non-profit organization.
"My passion and interest for giving back to others started at a young age at the elementary and middle school I attended in Boston, The Rashi School. Rashi is a Reform Jewish day school that has a unique program that takes place annually called Tamchui. Tamchui is a two-week long, school-wide philanthropy educational program that engages students in meaningful social justice and learning. The program is designed to introduce students to five non-profit organizations annually that are chosen by a committee of educators. The organizations vary in their population group and mission, ranging from poverty, hunger, illness, the environment, racism, homelessness, animal rights, and much more. During the two-week, school-wide philanthropy project, students learn about each of the chosen non-profit organizations and then have the opportunity to allocate money according to who they feel is the neediest and most worthy of the five organizations. I always remember how excited I would get to learn about the organizations and how empowered I felt contributing to decision making about the allocation of resources that we collected.
"Being exposed to this program from such an early age ingrained in me the mindset of asking myself what I can do for others and how I can make a difference in repairing the world. Giving back to others became not only a passion of mine but also a value. Tamchui laid the foundation for me about the non-profit world, how to understand my own values and how to recognize myself as an agent of change. It certainly helped shaped my hopes of becoming a social worker, which is what I am currently studying to become."
I think this excerpt pretty much sums up the power of Tamchui.
Rarely as parents do we get such clear indications of our hopes coming to fruition and materializing. As parents, we make many decisions during our journey. Some are good and some not so much. We do the best we can to look inward and be true to ourselves. Having the opportunity to read my daughter's reflection, as it relates to Tamchui and The Rashi School, I feel confident in saying that we hit the jackpot.
What a gift we are giving our children and in turn, they are giving back to the world.