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Tzedek Box: Repairing the World, One Righteous Act at a Time

Learn how to keep a family journal of righteous acts with the Tzedek Box. As Andrew Mandel explains, it’s a way of passing along Jewish values and commitments with a ritual that sparks introspection and bonding. 

The dog days of summer mean that our Hebrew month of Elul is upon us, a time of deep introspection in the weeks before Rosh Hashanah begins. What type of lives have we led? What difference are we making in our communities? How can we equip the next generation with the values and tools to repair our world? This is the perfect time of year for you and your family to join an emerging Jewish ritual: the Tzedek Box

The Tzedek Box is like a Tzedekah Box. But instead of coins, you put in slips of paper every time you engage in a meaningful act of kindness, fairness, and justice. If you donate to, say, an immigrant aid society or you volunteer your time to a literacy program, you’ll add a reflection to your box about why you did so. If your grandchild tells a classmate to stop teasing another child or attends the Youth Climate March, that grandchild will write about the experience and put it in the box. You and your family might decide to work together, collecting food for the food-insecure or writing postcards to your representatives, then mark the experience with a journal entry in your box. 

Then, once a year, on the Biblical holiday of Pesach Sheini, a month after Passover (Sunday, May 15, 2022), we all open our boxes. You can host a ritual at home with the help of one of our resource kits, or you can join people around the world for a celebration online at 1 p.m. EST. It is a beautiful moment of sacred accountability, allowing us to reflect on the work we’ve done — and recommit to the work we need to do in the future.  

There’s even a Tzedek Box app on the iPhone and Android, in case you want to create a family “tribe” where you get alerts on your phone every time someone adds something new to your shared box.  

To kids, Judaism can sometimes feel like a set of dusty books on a shelf.  By engaging in the Tzedek Box, you are taking that tradition off the shelf and bringing it to life — not simply by talking about it, but through demonstrating your own passion and commitment. By serving as a role model and encouraging your family in their own pursuits, it is far more likely that you will start to see the tangible evidence that your grandchildren are doing their part to live out Jewish values of righteousness. L’dor vador (from generation to generation) in action! 

To learn more about making and using physical or digital Tzedek Boxes with your grandchildren, contact Andrew Kaplan Mandel, founder of the Tzedek Box, at akmandel@gmail.com .
Visit www.facebook.com/tzedekbox to stay informed of new developments.