Mitzvah Day 2014: projects in the community

Mitzvah Day 2014: projects in the community

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Mitzvah Day 365_Master Logo_Colour

By Jack Mendel

As Mitzvah 2014 approaches, here are a number projects that have already started in anticipation for Sunday 16 November’s climax, and a few that are planned!

With just a few days until 16 November it’s not too late to sign up. Just visit

Liberal Rabbi Danny Rich at the centre the Mitzvah day activites
Liberal Judaism Rabbi Danny Rich at the centre of Mitzvah day activities

At least 10-15 Schools Mitzvah Day projects are taking place 

  • Akiva Primary School will be painting pictures for care homes, creating games for children in an Israel hospital and for a local nursery, making food for a homeless shelter.
  • Finchley Reform Nursery will be singing to the residents at Rubens House.
  • Ilford Jewish Primary School will be making and collecting stationery for young people in vocational training centres in Ghana and collecting toys for Camp Simcha, with Lee Scott MP present.
  • Kerem Primary – Hampstead Garden Suburb (HGS)- On Thursday:  Younger classes are participating in a record-breaking effort to create the longest ever chain of bunting for Noah’s Ark Hospice facilities, which is a nationwide campaign.  Other classes are icing biscuits and making frames for people in need, whearas year 3 will be visiting elderly members of HGS synagogue and year 5 are writing letters of gratitude to World War veterans. There is also a school wide toy collection for Camp Simcha!
  • Clore Tikva, Redbridge – Friday: Year 6 pupils reading to nursery and reception children and year 5 will be giving year 1 PE skills.
  • NW London Jewish Day School – Willesden: Week-long collection of non-perishable foods for local foodbank. Friday, there will be a school choir concert for tenants at the local Young Court
  • Simon Marks Jewish Primary – Hackney: Weeklong collection for local Hackney Foodbank. Children and Parents joining AJEX parade on Sunday
  • Yavneh College, Borehamwood: BES Hardship Fund, which is a service providing food, heating, clothing and other essentials to Jewish people in Borehamwood and Elstree. Nicki’s Smile and JNF UK project Israel Trauma Coalition. They are unning a collectathon as well as other activities every day of this week. 
  • Hasmonean Girls – are running five different projects throughout the week including collections for ‘Step Up’; the charity that collects shoes and donates to people in need in this country and abroad, and an artwork project for a Norwood refuge On Thursday.

Rabbi Dweck and The Spanish & Portuguese community did theirs last week:  


For the slightly older students, the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) will be cooking ‘kosher’ style food and eating with service users at the St Mungos homeless shelter in Swiss Cottage  Around 17 JSOCS (Jewish Societies) signed up to Mitzvah Day projects, with more expected! Many are doing Mitzvah Day shopping collections outside supermarkets and donating food banks and homeless shelters.

On Thursday Leyton Orient Football Club, now a regular Mitzvah Day participant – will send players to visit residents of Vi and John Rubens Care Home in Ilford Friday. Last year, as David Mooney and Moses Odubajo visited residents of Jewish Care’s Vi & John Rubens House in Redbridge: 

Mitzvah Mummies

  • Part of Mitzvah Day’s Sunshine to Seniors initiative involves volunteers engaging with the older more isolated members of our communities. Seven new groups this week are visiting different care home every day. Each with between 4-12 women and babies from age 3 months to a year old – sing-alongs and chatting.  These groups are particularly heart-warming because they often build into year-round involvement and residents light up when they see babies.

Give Away Your lunch’ office projects

Facebook, Ernst Young’s Muslim network and Jewish network, are amongst at least 60 others who will be collecting and delivering food to local homeless shelters.  Facebook will be spending several hours doing painting, cooking, discussing with service users at the Salvation Army.

CCJ (Council of Christians and Jews) has a partnership with Mitzvah Day

This year all their branches and Presidents are doing food collections for food banks – Rabbi Dweck of the Spanish and Portuguese did his with his office last week and Chief Rabbi Mirvis has done his with office today.

Rev Richard Leslie of St Michael’s church, Borehamwood, gave a fascinating talk to the Radlett CCJ this week. 

Rev Leslie, who is shortly to be made a Canon, spoke about the vicars in 4 generations of his family, detailing how he came to set up the Forum of Faiths in Hertsmere and was subsequently instrumental in the establishment of the Borehamwood Food Bank. 

L to R Manny Alvarez, Valerie Alvarez, Norman Sofier, Rev Richard Leslie
L to R Manny Alvarez, Valerie Alvarez, Norman Sofier, Rev Richard Leslie

He went on to describe the workings of the food bank and its ongoing need to support those in crisis. To mark Mitzvah Day the CCJ Radlett committee presented him food which had been donated for the food bank.


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