Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared Mitzvah Day a “great British tradition”, as people of all faiths come together for good causes.
Amid the pandemic, the annual day of interfaith social action has been transformed into a month-long initiative focusing on twin crises of food poverty and loneliness – with the highlight being the 15 November.
Johnson said: “Mitzvah Day has become a great British tradition. I am delighted and not at all surprised to see all the inspirational Mitzvah Day volunteers rise to the challenge of COVID – not just maintaining this fantastic Jewish-led day of good deeds, but going further and creating an entire month of mitzvahs.
“People of all faiths are working together, side by side in spirit, to ensure volunteering efforts continue safely at a time when people need them the most. Thank you to everyone who is working so hard to fill November with kindness.”
He was joined by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who will be taking part in a Mitzvah Day project in his constituency with South Hampstead Synagogue on Sunday. He said: “I want to pay tribute to the incredible work being done by Mitzvah Day to encourage us all to give our time to help others.
“This day is a wonderful opportunity to see people of different faiths working together to enrich their local communities.
“While this year feels very different, the Jewish values behind Mitzvah Day of tikkun olam – healing our world – and gemilut chasadim – acts of loving kindness – are more important than ever.”
Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Nicole Sturgeon also threw her weight behind the initiative, saying: “In the past eight months we have witnessed Scotland’s faith and belief communities working together to support those affected by Covid-19.
“This year, Mitzvah Day is being extended to a full month of social action in response to the pandemic. This is an excellent example of how Jewish values are harnessed for the benefit of all communities.”
Upon the launch of ‘Month of Mitzvahs’, Mitzvah Day chair Laura Marks said: “With food poverty and loneliness hitting record levels in our pandemic and pain-stricken world, not only does Every Mitzvah Matter – it’s vital.
I’m overwhelmed by how many acts of kindness are taking place to address these crises and am excited to highlight the generous, thoughtful and targeted volunteering projects, across faiths and backgrounds, taking place during this month of lockdown, all real mitzvahs.”
More than 250 faith communities, organisations and businesses expected to take part in the Month of Mitzvahs, with 40 schools/nurseries and potentially thousands of individuals and family groups.
- OPINION – Faiths Minister Stephen Greenhalgh: We must carry the spirit of Mitzvah Day into the difficult winter
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