Traditions: Choosing the Five Organizations
One long-standing tradition during Rashi Purim Tamchui is the decision process by which we choose our organizations for the year. The program, which pools donations from our community and trusts our students to make educated allocations of those contributions, is a community process that encourages everyone to get involved.
The selection process for Rashi Purim Tamchui begins with a nomination period during which members of Rashi’s kehillah(community) may nominate an organization for the school to study and support. Once a pool of nominations has been collected, a committee of parents, faculty, and staff meet to review the entries and to pare down the list from sometimes more than fifty worthwhile charitable organizations to six. Four of the organizations, the Rashi Purim Tamchui Committee decides, will automatically become among the five Purim Tamchui organizations. The final two are left to some of the most thoughtful and best decision makers Rashi’s faculty and staff have helped to train: The Rashi School’s seventh grade class.
After the Rashi Purim Tamchui Committee presents the seventh graders with two organizations from which to choose, they learn about the issue that each of these organizations addresses and how the organization goes about combating this issue. Once the students understand each of the two organizations, they “debate” within the class as to which of these organizations they feel would be best for grades 5 through 8.
The Great Debate:
This year, the students debated between the organizations:
- HeForShe, which addresses gender inequality across the world, and
- MEDIAGIRLS, a local grassroots organization that deals with the portrayal of women in the media.
As part of their preparation for the debate, our students participated in an online forum using our Learning Management System,Moodle, in which each student explained which organization they were leaning towards and why. They then were required to respectfully reply to a grade mate’s posting. Below are two examples, one for each of the two organizations that exemplify the seriousness and thoughtfulness with which the seventh graders approached this decision.
“I am personally leaning towards voting for MEDIAGIRLS to be the fifth Tamchui organization for grades 5 through 8 because I believe that the Rashi Purim Tamchui Fund will most benefit this small, almost startup, organization rather than HeForShe, an equally important organization. The fact that HeForShe is big enough to allow Emma Watson to speak at the United Nation tells us as possible donators a lot about just how big this organization really is. Secondly, from the information we were given, it seems as though HeForShe spreads awareness about gender inequality, but MEDIAGIRLS takes action by visiting schools and the people who are taught gender inequality (wanting to look photo shopped, etc.) through the media and educates them to combat it. Lastly, I believe that focusing on one topic, how women and girls are portrayed in the media, and taking the issue of gender inequality step-by-step, is more effective than focusing on gender inequality as a whole.”
“I think that the organization HeForShe is a better organization for Tamchui in grades 5-8 for many reasons. One reason is that HeForShe impacts more people. HeForShe works in many countries around the world where woman need advocates and are in a more dire need of help than the majority of women in America. One example is Afghanistan where only 3% of girls go to school. The women in Afghanistan do not have anyone to stand up for them however, HeForShe helps them in many ways. Another reason that HeForShe is the organization that I prefer is that HeForShe makes men more aware of the problems women face globally. If half of the world’s population (i.e., the male half) understands the current world issues facing women, then they can make more of a change. The last reason that HeForShe is the organization that I would pick over MEDIAGIRLS is that its goal is to make lives for women better. I have a mom and a sister who are fortunate enough to have the right to go out in public wearing shorts and a t-shirt but many women around the world do not have those same rights. HeForShe is working to change that which is why HeForShe is the organization that I like better for grades 5-8.”
In the end, MEDIAGIRLS became the 5th Tamchui organization by a vote of 20 to 18.