Q: How do we ensure the good work of last weekend’s Mitzvah Day continues throughout the entire year?
Naomi Ackerman says…
Like many Progressive Jews, my personal connection to Judaism is lived out largely through cultural ties and enacting tikkun olam, repair of the world.
Mitzvah Day is brilliant because it demonstrates how social action is entrenched in a Jewish way of life and as a result, appeals widely not just to Jews, but to people of other faiths and cultures.
This Mitzvah Day, together with a group of friends – people from various backgrounds – I was able to help out at a local homeless shelter. That we did so under the banner of an outward-facing, inclusive Jewish charity makes me proud of my heritage and the whole Jewish community. Ensuring continuity of Mitzvah Day projects throughout the year is down to us as individuals, groups and communities. The Mitzvah Day 365 framework is here to support you if you’re able and willing to continue to give generously of your time.
If you do, the impact can be infinite for you as participants and also for those to whom you give. If you are in need of some inspiration to get started on a year-round social action journey, look no further than Mitzvah Day.
• Naomi Ackerman is a former RSY-Netzer movement worker, now working as project manager for Mitzvah Day
Noeleen Cohen says…
Our community can hold its head up and be counted as one that cares. Values such as tikkun olam, tzedek (justice) and gemilut chasadim (the performance of loving-kindness) really matter to us.
There is a genuine desire within our synagogues and communal organisations to repair an often-damaged world. To build a better world, we must have a community built on real relationships – with one another and with ‘the other’.
Mitzvah Day is a wonderful opportunity to do just this. Visiting care home residents, cooking with members of the neighbouring mosque or church or paining a room at a children’s centre with Jews from a different synagogue, is a wonderful way to do a mitzvah and to build deep and lasting relationships.
Just chatting over a cup of tea or admiring a newly painted wall provides a moment to find out what matters to each of us, what brings us together rather than keeps us apart.
The Progressive Jewish community is blessed with a cadre of people who lead the way in creating sustainable pathways that enable everyone to find their mitzvah, their moment, to care better for the environment, for one another and to bring justice, joy and understanding that’s honest and long-lasting.
• Noeleen Cohen is chair of Leo Baeck College