This short post suggests a creative way to involve children in the custom of giving charity before lighting Shabbat candles. Originally published in “A Kolot Egalitarian Bentcher: Shabbat Blessings and Customs for Your Home”(Philadelphia, PA: Kolot, 2001), this tradition was shared by Julie Korostoff and Christer Larson and posted on Ritualwell, a project of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College that provides a platform for creating new Jewish practices and observances.
In our home before Shabbat we set a dollar at everyone’s place, on top of the napkin. Then before we light candles, our daughters, ages four and two, go around and collect the tzedakah from each person in a special Tupperware container we have transformed into our tzedakah box. They take immense joy from their participation in this ritual. Every few months we collect a few pieces of mail from non-profit organizations that we think would interest the girls and ask them to choose where to send the tzedakah money they have gathered.
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