The Bare Necessities (Private-Religious)
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Explain the difference between wants and needs.
    3. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify examples of families supporting giving and sharing.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.13 Describe limited resources and scarcity.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark E.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.6 Describe the procedures and the importance of sensitivity to the people with whom students are working.

This lesson will help students identify a person’s basic needs, realize that many people in the world are lacking these needs, and encourage them to think of ways to help these people.

PrintOne - Sixty Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • differentiate between wants and needs.
  • give reasons why certain items are necessary.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the pasuk in Isaiah 58:7.
  • compile a list of ways he/she can help people who lack basic needs.
  • define the words tzedek, tzedakah and philanthropy.
  • Poster board with pictures of wants and needs (see Instructional Procedure) either drawn or cut and pasted from magazines
  • Blackboard or whiteboard.
Home Connection: 

Send home a note to families explaining about the class drive. Families can look around the house for objects they can donate (especially students’ personal items).

  1. Anticipatory Set:Prepare a poster with two headings: Wants and Needs. Cut out a variety of pictures from magazines of:

    1. Needs (e.g. a house, food, and clothing
    2. Wants (e.g. teddy bear, DVD player, palm pilot, diamond necklace).

    Display the poster in front of the class.Ask the students help you sort the pictures into the two categories and explain why they belong there. Glue the pictures on the poster.

  2. Have the students tell which items are necessities and why. Write their answers on the board. For example:

    1. House – keeps you warm, provides you with a place to stay, provides you with a place to sleep, is a place to put your belongings
    2. Clothes – keep you warm, protect your body, and prevent nakedness
    3. Food – prevents you from being hungry, gives you energy, gives you nourishment, and helps keep you healthy
  3. Discuss with the students that some people lack basic necessities—things that we take for granted.They might not have shelter or a place to call home. Some people have very old and worn-out clothing. Some don’t have food.

  4. Ask the students to imagine how certain items we view as “wants” on the poster may be considered “needs” for people who have very few possessions. For example, some children don’t have any toys. Ask the students to imagine what it might be like having no toys to play with. For some children a teddy bear may constitute a “need.”

  5. Write the following quote on the board: “Share your bread with the hungry and bring the poor that are cast out into your home. When you see the naked, clothe them.” (Isaiah 58:7) Discuss what it means with the students.

  6. Ask the students how people can put this quote into action. In a guided discussion, have them brainstorm ways to help those who lack basic necessities. What might people have at their houses they would be willing to give? For example, people can give away clothing or toys they no longer use.They can give some of their food to people who are hungry.

  7. Write down the students’ ideas on the board. Have them vote on (or teacher chooses) one idea that they can do as a class project. Examples of projects include clothing drive, canned food drive, or toy drive.

  8. Tell the students the Hebrew word for helping others in need is tzedakah.

    In the Hebrew language the closest word to philanthropy is tzedakah. While the word is used interchangeably for charity, tzedakah is seen as a form of social justice provided by the donor as well as those who utilize the support to do their work and those who allow the support into their lives.  As is the case with justice, this critical social responsibility cannot be done to someone – rather, it must be done with someone. In Hebrew, the word meaning "to give" is Natan. In Hebrew and in English, the word can be read forward and backward, so when we think about philanthropy and idea of “to give” it is also about “to receive.”

    So much more than a financial transaction, philanthropy in the spirit of tzedakah builds trusting relationships and recognizes contributions of time, effort, and insight. 

    Explain Tzedakah comes from the word tzedek, meaning righteousness. Discuss the meaning of “righteousness.” Tell them that there is a special mitzvah (Jewish commandment) to give tzedakah.This can be done through giving or lending money, needed items, or even helping finding someone a job. Doing such things are righteous acts. Discuss other righteous acts.

  9. Explain to the students that by organizing and running their own drive to help some needy people, they will be fulfilling the mitzvah of tzedakah.This is also an act of philanthropy (giving or sharing time, talent, or treasure for the common good).


Assessment will be based upon the students’ participation in class through observation of their questions, enthusiasm, and ideas.