• Jodi Samuels

Making Birthday Parties Meaningful



When Meron was four years old, he came to us and said, “Imma and Abba, I was looking in my closet, I have so many toys. For my birthday, I want to give some things to the poor.” At Meron’s request, we asked for donations in lieu of gifts. Now (and each year), he looks forward to the thank you certificate and letter from Meir Panim (feed the poor), Migdal Orh (children’s home) or other organizations to which he donated his birthday funds.


At one point Temira, told me, “Imma, I do not want to ask for Tzeddakah, I want presents.” I still wanted her to have a sensitivity about presents and Slovie Wolf, author of Raising a Child with Soul shared a great idea with me. She suggested that Temira could choose 10 gifts and that we would wrap the remaining gifts beautifully and personally deliver presents to the poor. We did this and she loved the idea. Her parties have become a mitzvah project.


This year, Temira decided she only wanted donations, no gifts. She also suggested that we should give a donation to poor girls and, instead of goody bags, we should give each child a certificate saying a donation was made in their honor At the beginning of her party, her brother Meron gave her $5 for the tzeddakah fund.


I am so happy that my kids are learning the virtue of giving. I often ponder what the world would be like if everyone gave 10% Tzeddakah (charity) from rich to beggar. We could solve so many issues in the world. I hope my kids will start a viral chain of giving….


Metroimmas, what do you do to encourage your kids to give charity?


Originally published: June 20, 2011

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