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In this challenging time, many parents and guardians are looking online for meaningful activities for their children that don’t require too much prep or too many materials. Each weekday on this blog, the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust will post an activity geared to a range of ages that guide children how to explore heritage, history, and learning through artifacts.

This activity builds on the skills of making observations and using the observations to draw inferences. Our educational approach is grounded in the idea that every object tells a story, and we encourage students to observe and infer to try to determine what story each object is telling.

tzedakah box
Gift of Elsie O. Sang in memory of Philip D. Sang

Click here for a larger view of the artifact.

Have your student list objective observations (what they can see, without making any guesses or inferences). Encourage them to deepen their observations and record things they may not have noticed upon first viewing the artifact.

Next, ask your student to make inferences: what do you think this object is? Who might it have belonged to? What story is it telling?

Charity boxes, or tzedakah boxes, are found throughout Jewish communities.

  • What do you notice about this object?
    • It is made of silver and highly decorated, which tells us it’s something important.
  • Why do communities collect charity? What are some institutions that care for people in need?
    • Communities collect charity for those in need. Some institutions include nursing homes, hospitals, soup kitchens, organizations that help people who are homeless, etc.
  • The Hebrew word tzedakah means both charity and justice. How are these ideas linked?
    • Giving charity is considered the just or fair thing to do.
  • Members of a community take on the responsibility of looking after each other. What does your community do to take care of its members? What are some ways to help our communities other than donating money?

We encourage you to share your student’s work with us! Please email education@mjhnyc.org so that we may feature it on our Museum blog!