Updated for Midwest CAJE • February, 2009

First created for CAJE 33 • Monday, August 11 • 10:15 – 11:30 am

Deborah Harris (deb@debharris.com)

Download the handout here: .

You and your students are blessed with access to technology like computers and the Internet. Learn how to use these resources to help make the world a better place. See some fun “tech-kun” projects and get step-by-step instructions so you can incorporate them into your school. Whether you’re looking for super-easy (like a website where you can feed people while playing word games) or more advanced projects like student-created videos that raise funds for charity, there are opportunities to have fun with technology and help others. Share the wealth and share your students’ talents!

Charity click donators

How these work: Most charity click donation sites support one specific charity. It’s easy; you go to the site, click a box or play a game, and the sponsor donates money or food. There are also bulk donators who will donate to a number of similar sites.
For a complete list of charity click donators, visit http://www.charityclickdonation.com.
To donate rice and play word games at the same time, visit http://www.freerice.com.


Books on CD: Students brought in books to donate to a school in Mississippi that is rebuilding its library after Hurricane Katrina. We specified that the books should be for students in 1st through 5th grades. We worked with Karing in Illinois (http://www.karing.org), which supports the city of Waveland, Mississippi. My students brought in new or gently-used books to donate and then read the books into GarageBand (Macintosh). We edited the files and burned them onto CDs. The students also made CD covers to put in jewel cases (download the template ). We printed labels for the CDs using Avery CD labels and an Avery CD stomper (which makes labeling the CDs a piece of cake). These were really well received by the city of Waveland, and my students had a great time creating the files.

Purim Greetings for Israeli Soldiers

Working with Connections Israel (http://www.connectionsisrael.com) we created a DVD that we sent to soldiers in Israel. Here's a low resolution version:

We videotaped our students singing and sending greetings for Purim, brought the video in Apple’s iMovie and created the video. Connections Israel has a number of programs that are designed to foster a greater connection with Israel. Download their brochure: .

What Kind of World Do You Want?

The band Five For Fighting created a video commentary website at http://www.whatkindofworlddoyouwant.com. You can support any of the five charities they’ve chosen by:
• simply clicking on and watching the videos that are posted there, or
• creating videos and posting them, or
• donating directly to the charities
My students split up into several groups and created videos for the charity of their choice. They brought in their own digital cameras (most of which take videos now), took pictures, shot video, uploaded to computers and edited the videos.

Lakeside's videos:

Hanukkah Greetings for Jewish American Soldiers

For a Hanukkah hesed program this year, my middle school students used PrintShop to create Hanukkah cards for Jewish American soldiers. We used lists provided by the Jewish Welfare Board’s Jewish Chaplains Council.


Maimonides taught that the highest form of charity is to help an individual help him or herself. The website http://www.kiva.org helps you do that. A microlender, Kiva provides small loans to individuals who normally would not qualify as borrowers, generally due to poor (or no) credit history and lack of collateral or steady employment.

Kiva’s website is a lesson in itself. It may feature a Nigerian woman who wants to borrow $350 to start a business selling kitchen utensils, a farm cooperative in Uganda in need of $400 per farmer or Cambodian duck farmers who support a family of five on $10 per day. It’s clear that these are real people who aren’t just looking for a handout; they want an opportunity to support themselves and their families.

What about using some of your class tzedakah to make a $25 loan? The class can look at loan requests, choose the recipient and then track the borrower’s progress. At loan repayment, the class can choose another borrower to support. What a wonderful opportunity for students to see that $25 can really make a difference.

Here's an interesting movie about microlending:

Other resources on the web:
Social Action: http://www.socialaction.com/index.shtml. This website is a great resource if you're planning any kid of social justice activity for school.
http://www.jphilanthropy.com/: Inspiring Jewish youth to engage in acts of philanthropy (site is under renovation)
Good Search: http://www.goodsearch.com. You can search and support at the same time.