Helping Hands and Tikkun (2023-24 School Year)

Helping Hands and Tikkun (2023-24 School Year)
  • Lower Division
  • Outside the Classroom
Matan Halzel


By the DJDS Marketing Department


On Friday, May 17 at Kabbalat Shabbat, Denver JDS Lower Division students presented checks to representatives of partner organizations within the Helping Hands Service Learning Program. Students spoke about their rewarding experiences with each organization before announcing donated totals. Six local partner organizations received a total of $2,094.90 raised during the 2023-2024 school year. Students also raised funds for sister organizations in Israel, donating $118.00 to each. 




Helping Hands beneficiaries for the 2023-2024 school year were:

  • K - Canine Partners of the Rockies; Israeli charity - The Service Dog Training Center
  • 1st - Clothes for Kids, Denver; Israeli charity - Yad Leah
  • 2nd - Rocky Mountain Arsenal and Wildlife Refuge; Israeli charity - Hai-Bar Yotvata Nature Reserve
  • 3rd - Jewish Family Services; Israeli charity - Meir Panim
  • 4th - Newborns in Need; Israeli charity - Shifra and Pua
  • 5th - We Don’t Waste; Israeli charity - Leket Israel

The program’s philosophy emerges from the values of the Torah and Jewish tradition. Performing acts of loving kindness (gemilut hasadim), good deeds (mitzvot), philanthropic giving (tzedakah), and working to repair the world (tikkun olam) are the cornerstones of daily teachings. 



At the start of the school year, each Lower Division grade chooses a community-based partner charity. Parent volunteers and faculty collaborate to implement the program, which includes school-sponsored community service projects that ask students to reflect on their Jewish identity and responsibility to improve the world. “This work truly empowers our students to understand that they can take the knowledge they learn in classrooms here at DJDS and use that knowledge to make a positive impact and change the world for the better,” said Lower Division Principal Elana Shapiro.

Parents, faculty, students, and partner organizations all cherish the program’s impact on their lives. A parent volunteer and Helping Hands coordinator from 2020 to 2023, Bonni Raderman, said of the program, “It was an honor to support a meaningful program that makes a positive impact in society by helping to address social injustices, improves the lives of others, and that aligns with my values and sense of purpose.” 



The Ginsburg, Mackiernan, and Shoflick families helped create the Helping Hands Service Learning Program 18 years ago when their children were DJDS students. Through the philanthropic support of these families in collaboration with Raderman and staff, DJDS adopted a new curriculum in 2023-2024 that took Helping Hands to the next level. Faculty received training from Dan Abramson, the developer of the Tikkun Project Curriculum at the Leo Baeck Jewish Day School in Toronto, Canada. This curriculum blends Jewish values, hands-on service learning, and critical thinking. It expands the ways schools incorporate service learblogning across multiple subjects like Judaics, social studies, science, and literacy. 

Program co-founder, Leslie Ginsburg, remarked that they “never imagined Helping Hands would still be thriving almost two decades after its inception to support our own children.” She expressed her delight in the adoption of this new curriculum, which, she said, “empowers teachers to forge stronger connections between service learning and their classrooms."



We couldn’t agree more and we’re very proud of this year’s K-5 group! 

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