Local | Philanthropy & Family Finance

At Stone Soup event, local teens to celebrate giving

“Something magical began to happen among the villagers. As each person opened their heart to give, the next person gave even more. And as this happened, the soup grew richer and smelled more delicious.” — from “Stone Soup” by Jon J. Muth

Members of the B’nai Tzedek Teen Advisory Council take a break at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona on Nov. 18 after working with B’nai Tzedek’s newest teens to pack Thanksgiving food bags for 62 students at Homer Davis Elementary School as part of this year’s New Teen Social Action Sunday. (L-R) Belle Soyfer, Madeline Levy, Allison Whitehill, Sarah Cassius, Abigail Herz. In front: Eli Soyfer.

The B’nai Tzedek Tucson Jewish teen philanthropy program will hold its sixth annual Stone Soup Celebration on Sunday, Jan. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Using various forms of multimedia, the 150-plus members will announce the nonprofits that will benefit from distributions from their B’nai Tzedek funds. The free program includes a a light (soup) dinner provided by L’Chaim Kosher Catering.

B’nai Tzedek Tucson operates under the philosophy, “Give a Little, Change a Lot.” The program enables Jewish teens to be directly involved in philanthropy, with the aim of fostering a lifelong habit of charitable giving. The word tzedek is Hebrew for “justice” or “righteous,” and refers, in this case, to tzedekah, Hebrew for “righteous giving,” an obligation of all Jews to contribute to the common good and help fellow human beings in need, explains Sharon Glassberg, director of the Coalition for Jewish Education of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. B’nai Tzedek teens strive toward tikkun olam, the Jewish concept of repair of the world, throughout the year via their annual distributions and programs that provide opportunities to clarify values, learn from established philanthropists and grass-roots efforts, research nonprofit organizations and participate in hands on social action projects.

B’nai Tzedek Tucson includes a leadership component called the Teen Advisory Council. These students coordinate the yearly programs and participate in a group granting process in the local community. This year’s students chose childhood literacy as their focus issue. During the Stone Soup celebration, TAC will hold a raffle for an iPad Mini as well as a silent auction, with proceeds benefitting a local nonprofit that furthers childhood literacy.

“Stone Soup gives us the opportunity to celebrate the teens of B’nai Tzedek and their accomplishments in philanthropy and social action,” says Allison Whitehill, a senior at Catalina Foothills High School and a member of TAC, who is co-chairing the Stone Soup celebration with Alyssa Blinkoff.

B’nai Tzedek Tucson partners the CJE with the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona. The program is open to all Jewish teens in the community beginning in eighth grade. Participants in this community-wide program represent all Tucson synagogues, the Tucson Hebrew Academy, and unaffiliated members of the Jewish community. For more information, contact Glassberg at 577-9393, or sglassberg @jfsa.org.