Mitzvah Day Case Studies from 2010 activities
Oxford Jewish Congregation
The Oxford Jewish Congregation, a unique mix of Jews from across the religious spectrum, chose to work with the newly-formed Council of Faiths in
On Mitzvah Day, the Jewish community along with the Council of Faiths made some real progress on this project. Working together on such an activity gave them the opportunity to chat and learn about each other, and in turn learn how much they have in common. Friendships were developed and all participants are looking forward to working together in the future.
For their first ever Mitzvah Day, Alei Tzion chose to work on a project which would have real long-term impact and would support those with disabilities in our community.
Alei Tzion chose to run its Book Club on Mitzvah Day at Jewish Care’s Rela Goldhill home, for people with disabilities. It brought together members of both communities as equals, serving to break down barriers and stigmas attached to people with disabilities. Not all of the participants enjoyed the book they had read, which sparked serious and critical discussion. Very positively, those who took part on Mitzvah Day now intend to make it a regular event. The club at Rela Goldhill has the opportunity to grow and foster real friendships and to inspire other communities to follow the same pattern in future. “It was really great to meet the residents and everyone got a lot out of the Book Club. We’ll be going back soon!” (Ben Vos, Book Club participant.)
For one of many of projects on Mitzvah Day 2010, members of Alyth Synagogue and the local Hindu community decided to spend their time entertaining seniors from both faiths. The relationship between the two communities started on Mitzvah Day the previous year, and a special characteristic of the day was the mutual respect and understanding between the communities that has developed. Both played their part and learnt a great deal from each other, whilst bringing real joy to the elderly people present, who in turn made their own impression on the performers; the relationship between the two communities continued to develop on a truly positive note.
Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue
Borehamwood and Elstree’s Mitzvah Day this year was it’s largest so far, with over 200 community volunteers giving their time. For the first time, the synagogue organised a cross-generational and cross-communal Mitzvah Day, with the activities chosen to appeal to all ages, subsequently attracting a vast number of local residents from toddlers to grandparents. Furthermore, in a show of real community strength, the synagogue teamed up with other local organisations; Ohr Yisrael Synagogue, Radlett United Synagogue, Yavneh College, Hertsmere Jewish Primary School, BES Tribe, Gilah Nursery and Little Bicks Nursery.
Mitzvah Day 2010 saw Rabbis combine forces, generations join hands, and individuals from across the Jewish spectrum demonstrate pride in their Jewishness, united in their faith and ultimately in their aim to do something good.
On Mitzvah Day 2010, volunteers in
The community’s actions ensured that a large box of food was given to all of the homeless and needy people in the area in time for Christmas, through a local charity - the Thames Homeless Project. Both the volunteers and food donors learnt about the charity and about the Jewish concept of a mitzvah, and their actions brought real benefits to local needy people.
St Philip's Centre, Leicester
Mitzvah Day in the
The Orthodox and Progressive communities worked together, a rare occurrence, to create and accomplish this wonderful initiative, at the same time coordinated by a Muslim. The communities organised a huge collectathon of toiletries, with the goods being delivered to a local women’s shelter, and were stunned by the sheer volume of toiletries collected and the huge amount of publicity in newspapers and on the radio and internet. A first time effort has led to such a dynamic that already a legacy has been created;
The Board of Deputies of British Jews
The 500 guests at the Board’s 250th anniversary celebrations were expecting to see the strength of a forward thinking, cross-communal, centrally important communal institution. Between the Board and Mitzvah Day, they saw two.
Volunteers from the Board’s own Environment and Social Action Group greeted guests and gave them the opportunity to sign cards to British service men and women protecting our country abroad.
The response was emphatic. The Board’s President, Deputies, visiting faith leaders and leading politicians including Ed Balls MP all queued up to sign the cards to say ‘thank you’.
Guests of all backgrounds praised the Board’s endorsement of such an upbeat manifestation of Jewish identity. For their part, the volunteers were emphatic that we should do more social action events at the Board, and a programme of such events is now being planned on everything from the environment to asylum, and from fairtrade to international development.
Helping Hands, Brighton (JC competition winner)
Helping Hands was established in 2000. Run by volunteers, it is a reminder that in a time when the world seems to be bleak and full of despair, it is the seemingly small gestures that can make a big difference.
Festive tea, fun and of course, cake, was served in the afternoon to around 150 people - all together - including seniors, students and families plus residents of Norwood’s Tikvah Home (for adults with learning disabilities) who were warmly welcomed.
Habonim Dror and Faith Network 4
On Mitzvah Day, youth from Habonim Dror got their hands dirty working on the Faith Network 4 Manchester’s allotment. Those who took part learnt about this amazing initiative, in which the plots are owned by those with terminal illnesses, with the produce being given to the needy. Furthermore, the interfaith aspect was a wonderful opportunity, with Jews, Muslims and Christians taking part on the day, and throughout the year. The youth involved were proud to represent the Jewish community and to establish what will hopefully be a strong bond with members of other faith communities. The Faith Network were delighted to welcome in new volunteers to take part in this ongoing project which is maintained by volunteers all year round.
On Mitzvah Day, the Heaton Park Hebrew Congregation worked together with students from
"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death…… I can assure you it is much, much more important than that." Bill Shankly, Manager Liverpool F.C. 1959-73. On Mitzvah Day 2010 Bill Shankly’s now-famous words yet again proved right as two Leyton Orient footballers visited residents of Jewish Care’s Vi & John Rubens House in Ilford. Their visit brought fun, laughter and love into the home. It was clear from the start that both the residents and the footballers were having a wonderful time. As much as the residents, staff volunteers and the directors of Jewish Care enjoyed having Alex Revell and Ben Chorley in the home, the footballers loved meeting members of the older generation. Ben Chorley even bought a scarf, hand-knitted by one of the residents, for his two year old daughter! Members of Leyton Orient have promised to continue the relationship with Jewish Care in 2011 by making a second visit to Vi & John Rubens as well as becoming involved with other Jewish Care resources in Ilford.