Tamchui Launches its 30th Year

by | Feb 2, 2024 | Social Justice, Learning, Community, Lower School, Middle School

The 2024/5784 Suzanne and Bernard Pucker Tamchui Program kicked off this week, and we couldn’t be more excited! 

 

Tamchui, meaning “community collection pot” in Aramaic, is a three week, all-school academic initiative that focuses on teaching students about current events by highlighting nonprofits (local, national, and global), inviting organization representatives to speak, and inspiring children across grades to partake in the essential work of tikkun olam (repairing the world). Each year, students vote on three issues and six nonprofits to highlight.

 

This year’s three issues are:

  • Mental Health
  • Medical Care
  • Support for Civilians

This year’s six nonprofit organizations are:

  • Mental Health
    • Elem
    • One Family
  • Medical Care 
    • The Dream Doctors Project
    • First Line Med
  • Support for Civilians
    • Brothers and Sisters for Israel
    • Hand In Hand

 

Spearheaded by Director of Social Justice Stephanie Rotsky, Tamchui is now in its 30th year, and is focusing specifically on the war in Israel, and organizations working on the ground to support those who are directly affected. An important goal of Tamchui is to empower our Middle School students with hands-on leadership in identifying the spotlighted issues, helping to select our outstanding nonprofit organizations for the school, interviewing representatives from these organizations, and developing lessons to teach to the Lower School in what is known as Education Week.

Education Week officially kicks off Tamchui each year. Middle Schoolers work closely with their teachers to prepare age-appropriate materials and activities, each one catered specifically to the Lower School grade levels. “I’m excited to teach the Lower School so they can grow up and have a passion for helping others,” said seventh grader Stella S. By learning from their older friends, students feel connected and engaged throughout the lessons, allowing them to take in information and think critically about each of the topics and organizations presented. 

 

“I learned that there’s an organization that pairs ‘big brothers and sisters’ with younger kids who went through traumatic events so they can help them cope,” said fifth grader Hattie L.

”We learned about Yad b’Yad (Hand in Hand), which is a school for Arabs and Jews to come together and be friends without conflict,” said Jordan Z. in third grade. “That really stood out to me.” 

 

Some of the activities students ran included listing items you would pack if you had to flee and designing a backpack for them, playing Operation with the support of medical clowns, designing shirts for stuffed bears to be sent to Israeli children, and doing class Kahoot quizzes to review key points from their lessons. 

Tamchui is just one piece (albeit a very significant one) of the social justice curriculum at Rashi—an essential part of our students’ learning that creates opportunities for critical thinking, self-awareness, personal growth, and empowerment. It brings children together across grades, and engages families and the community around us in a way that prepares students to be active members of the global Jewish community. 

Throughout it all, Grade 1 student Saoirse I. perhaps said it best, “I like helping people, and Tamchui is all ABOUT helping people!”