Education through Action Jewish World Watch – Jewish World Watch

Posted By on August 5, 2021

Education through Action By: Rabbi Chaim Tureff, Rav Beit Sefer

Originally appeared in the Pressman Academy Shmoozer, November Edition.

In school there are many concepts and ideas that are taught. Not all of them are taught in a book, on an I-Pad or through a lecture. Through our Middle School Tikkun Olam curriculum, Got Mitzvah?, the middle school is engaged in several activities every year which give the students exposure to numerous organizations and opportunities to do hands on activities. Jewish World Watch and Pressman Academy have had a relationship since Jewish World Watch was founded in 2004. Our activities have included creating and facilitating the annual Jump for Darfur, letter writing to President Obama and President Bush, calling our Senators and House Representatives during snack to plead for action, attending the Walk to End Genocide, welcoming a Lost Boy to share his experience, raising funds to purchase Solar Cookers and to help build a school, learning in depth and becoming knowledgeable on events happening now that too closely mirror our past. Because of these efforts, Jewish World Watch is honoring Pressman Academy Middle School for our deep commitment to fight against genocide and mass atrocities at Survivors Legacy.

For one hour during school on November 1, Pressman students (3rd-8th grade) will jump rope as many times as possible, dance, and shoot free throws to raise funds for an orphanage for children that were soldiers at a young age and have been rescued. The idea is that we are going to bring awareness to our school community and hopefully to the greater community as well about the tragedy in Darfur and Congo.

There are so many angles that I could focus on with these events. There is the notion that mitzvah goreret mitzvah (one mitzvah leads to other mitzvot). There is the notion that the Torah implores us to help the needy. Whether it is the Talmud, Rambam, Sefer Tehillim, or Proverbs, all contain some iteration of the following: Anyone who withholds what is due to the poor blasphemes against the Maker of all, but one who is gracious unto the needy honors God.

I would like to focus on a line from the Talmud, Shabbat 54b which states, Whoever can prevent his household from committing a sin but does not, is responsible for the sins of his household; if he can prevent the people of his city, he is responsible for the sins of his city; if the whole world, he is responsible for the sins of the whole world. The tragedy that has afflicted Darfur and the Congo is a world away from Pressman Academy. There seems to be no connection yet our holy sources repeatedly implore us not to turn a blind eye. Even with our distance and seeming lack of connection, there is a relationship between Jewish children in Los Angeles and the children of Darfur and Congo. We all ultimately have similar desires for shelter, food, education, the freedom to practice our faith, and the opportunity to live in peace and tranquility. Recognizing that we have similar needs and we are all from the same Creator, it is our responsibility as a community to help whenever possible. Jump for Darfur will give the students an opportunity to do something fun while helping other people and raising awareness.

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Education through Action Jewish World Watch - Jewish World Watch

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