Role Models of Generosity

3, 4, 5
Keywords & Concepts: 

Young people read about Jewish role models who partake in tikkun olam. They reflect on how they can use their behavior as a model for their own philanthropy to perfect the world.

PrintOne 50-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • identify the generosity of people in Jewish history and connect it to their own actions.
  • Giraffe Heroes Project
  • Jewish Theological Seminary Website
  • Jewish Virtual Library


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask the young people to identify role models and discuss the admirable qualities of their choices. You may need to clarify that a role model is someone that a person looks up to and wants to imitate in some way. 

  2. Working in five groups, give each group one handout from the list of the following people (role models) to read about: Abraham, Baron Edmund James de Rothschild, Rebecca Gratz, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Phoebe Yates Levy Pember.

  3. Give the groups about 20 minutes to read about their person and complete the following questions and discuss the tikkun olam of their person:

    • What are the acts of kindness they did to help perfect the world?
    • Where and when did they live?
    • What was their impact on their area of influence?
    • Why is this person a good role model for perfecting the world then and now?
    • What can you do to contribute to the world in a similar way?
    • How can this work be done in collaboration with others?
  4. Come together as a full group and share ideas learned from the role models. 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify examples of families supporting giving and sharing.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.9 Give examples how people give time, talent or treasure in different cultures.