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Intrinsic Motivation and Social Justice
Abbe Roth

Dear CJDS Community,

Every week in our Likrat Shabbat newsletter, we highlight different areas of school life. Today I’d like to highlight some areas of our Educational Philosophy, specifically the introduction and the areas entitled Intrinsic Motivation and Social Justice. 

CJDS Students: Changing the World One Day at a Time

This past week, our Educational Leadership Team heard from our middle school students about their involvement in social action/Tikun Olam projects outside of school and how they want to engage their classmates.

One of our students wrote about working with refugees in our community. Another small group wrote that they felt our students needed to keep up with the news, both locally and globally. The students wanted to create a news segment that they could broadcast over our PA system once a week. They felt their news show could also encourage participation in the various tzedakah/Tikun Olam/Chesed projects that others were doing.

Lastly, when talking with some of our B’nei Mitzvah students, I realized that some of our students are really out there in the world already helping and making a difference. Whether it be feeding the homeless or making them sleeping mats from recycled plastic bags, our students are not only thinking about others in the community, but they are contributing and taking action to help.

On Tuesday, one of our alumni students took the day off from school to volunteer in a polling place. Another alumnus has been volunteering in political campaigns for the last year and volunteered all day Tuesday as well. Lastly, we have a CJDS middle schooler who has been raising money for different tzedakah causes for years, making body scrubs and bracelets or selling desserts at lunch.

Usually, I would name all the students and give them a shout out. We will highlight these students in the future. For today’s Likrat Shabbat, it’s important to note what they all have in common is that they are CJDS students who are taking the learning from their classes and with their intrinsic motivation, they are taking actions which completely reflect our Educational Philosophy. 

Our CJDS students and alumni are taking Rabbi Hillel’s words to heart of “Im Ayn Ani Li mi li . . . If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself and not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?”

They are integrating those words with, “We are committed to developing critical thinking and socially engaged intelligence that enables each individual to understand and participate effectively in the affairs of their community, country, Israel, and the world at large in a collaborative effort to achieve a common good.” And they are using the tools they are learning here at school to, “achieve a common good.”

The actions not only illustrate a reflection of our Educational Philosophy, but it also reflects a culture which is fostered in the school; a culture which does not belong to any one person but instead is part of the fabric of every student.

Shabbat Shalom,

Ms. J (Judy)