Gelt for Giving Program Instills Meaningful Mitzvot

Through the first-ever, campuswide GOA Gelt for Giving program, the Wilf Lower School Campus raised nearly $1,000 for charities during the month of December (Kislev and Tevet). Building on the theme of Hanukkah, students in Pre-K through 5th grade were asked to donate their spare change in a hanukkiah made up of jars in the front lobby. Each grade had its own jar, as well as one for faculty and staff, and everyone was able to donate change throughout the month.

During the program’s kickoff in November, students learned about the four charities GOA would be collecting for: Cold Nose Warm Heart Animal Rescue (, which saves animals from shelters and fosters them until adoption; The WAE Center -(, part of Jewish Service for the Developmentally Disabled which provides programming for adults with physical and intellectual disabilities; HIAS (, working with Temple Beth Shalom and B'nai Abraham of Livingston to sponsor a family from the Ukraine relocating to New Jersey; and Leket (, the leading food organization in Israel serving the hungry in Israel and worldwide. 

“The Lower School wanted to create an ongoing initiative to help instill meaning for students performing mitzvot,” said Cindi Barash, a member of the Lower School Experiential Team. “The GOA Gelt for Giving program was a wonderful way for students to actively take part in their mitzvot and build on GOA Cheshvan of Kindess where students were encourged to perform random acts of kindness.”

After the donations were tallied, each grade was able to vote for two charities they wanted their gifts to go to. During Wednesday’s morning meeting, Morah Cindi shared with the students the grand total and the incredibly grateful responses from the organizations and charities receiving funds from the school.  

“Helping our students practice and internalize the values of tzedakah and tikkun olam is not only at the core of the GOA experience,” said Lower School principal Carrie Z. Siegel, “but is also an essential part of growing our children into menschen.”