Thousands take part in Mitzvah Day from across the community
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Thousands take part in Mitzvah Day from across the community

Labour leader Keir Starmer participates in day of Jewish-led social action with a litter pick, to tidy the local area, and a collection of non-perishable food and toiletries

  • Sir Keir Starmer taking part in Mitzvah Day 2021 (photo credit: Tom Pullen)
    Sir Keir Starmer taking part in Mitzvah Day 2021 (photo credit: Tom Pullen)
  • Sir Keir Starmer taking part in Mitzvah Day 2021 (photo credit: Tom Pullen)
    Sir Keir Starmer taking part in Mitzvah Day 2021 (photo credit: Tom Pullen)
  • Sir Keir Starmer taking part in Mitzvah Day 2021 at South Hampstead Synagogue (photo credit: Tom Pullen)
    Sir Keir Starmer taking part in Mitzvah Day 2021 at South Hampstead Synagogue (photo credit: Tom Pullen)
  • Sir Keir Starmer taking part in Mitzvah Day 2021 (photo credit: Tom Pullen)
    Sir Keir Starmer taking part in Mitzvah Day 2021 (photo credit: Tom Pullen)
  • Sir Keir Starmer taking part in Mitzvah Day 2021 (photo credit: Tom Pullen)
    Sir Keir Starmer taking part in Mitzvah Day 2021 (photo credit: Tom Pullen)
  • Sir Keir Starmer taking part in Mitzvah Day 2021 (photo credit: Tom Pullen)
    Sir Keir Starmer taking part in Mitzvah Day 2021 (photo credit: Tom Pullen)
  • Young professionals paining murals for Norwood’s Kennedy Leigh Family Centre
    Young professionals paining murals for Norwood’s Kennedy Leigh Family Centre
  • Young professionals paining murals for Norwood’s Kennedy Leigh Family Centre
    Young professionals paining murals for Norwood’s Kennedy Leigh Family Centre
  • Young professionals paining murals for Norwood’s Kennedy Leigh Family Centre
    Young professionals paining murals for Norwood’s Kennedy Leigh Family Centre
  • Young professionals paining murals for Norwood’s Kennedy Leigh Family Centre
    Young professionals paining murals for Norwood’s Kennedy Leigh Family Centre
  • Hampstead Synagogue collections outside supermarkets
    Hampstead Synagogue collections outside supermarkets
  • Hampstead Synagogue collections outside supermarkets
    Hampstead Synagogue collections outside supermarkets
  • Hampstead Synagogue collections outside supermarkets
    Hampstead Synagogue collections outside supermarkets
  • Hampstead Synagogue collections outside supermarkets
    Hampstead Synagogue collections outside supermarkets
  • Day of activities at Golders Green Synagogue including knitting for the homeless and planting a tree
    Day of activities at Golders Green Synagogue including knitting for the homeless and planting a tree
  • Day of activities at Golders Green Synagogue including knitting for the homeless and planting a tree
    Day of activities at Golders Green Synagogue including knitting for the homeless and planting a tree
  • Day of activities at Golders Green Synagogue including knitting for the homeless and planting a tree
    Day of activities at Golders Green Synagogue including knitting for the homeless and planting a tree
  • Day of activities at Golders Green Synagogue including knitting for the homeless and planting a tree
    Day of activities at Golders Green Synagogue including knitting for the homeless and planting a tree
  • The 20th Finchley Jewish scout group painted the fence at The Kisharon partnership library in Child’s Hill for Mitzvah Day
    The 20th Finchley Jewish scout group painted the fence at The Kisharon partnership library in Child’s Hill for Mitzvah Day
  • Mitzi - making latkes!
    Mitzi - making latkes!
  • Kennedy Leigh mural Mitzvah Day
    Kennedy Leigh mural Mitzvah Day
  • Food Collection with SAMS member Harry Sassoon
    Food Collection with SAMS member Harry Sassoon
  • Cooking 25 individual meals for Centre33 homeless
    Cooking 25 individual meals for Centre33 homeless
  • Members of SAMS, St Saviours Church and Muslim Community Members.
    Members of SAMS, St Saviours Church and Muslim Community Members.
  • 20th Finchley Cubs
    20th Finchley Cubs
  • SAMS Cheder litter picking 2
    SAMS Cheder litter picking 2
  • From Right to Left Rabbi Adam Zagoria-Moffet, Councillor Iqbal Zia, President of Mauritian Muslim Welfare Association and Father Richard Watson
    From Right to Left Rabbi Adam Zagoria-Moffet, Councillor Iqbal Zia, President of Mauritian Muslim Welfare Association and Father Richard Watson
  • Pinner's Mitzvah Day
    Pinner's Mitzvah Day
  • Hampstead Group with Mayor outside Little Waitrose West Hampstead 2021
    Hampstead Group with Mayor outside Little Waitrose West Hampstead 2021
  • Young professionals paining murals for Norwood’s Kennedy Leigh Family Centre
    Young professionals paining murals for Norwood’s Kennedy Leigh Family Centre
  • WIJPS does Mitzvah Day!
    WIJPS does Mitzvah Day!
  • Resource at Mitzvah Day
    Resource at Mitzvah Day

Almost 25,000 volunteers all around the UK took part in the UK’s biggest Jewish-led social action for Mitzvah Day.

Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer joined the South Hampstead Synagogue community, for a litter pick and a collection of non-perishable food and toiletries for Camden’s homeless, while people of all different faiths joined events up and down the country.

Taking place on Sunday 21 November, Mitzvah Day included events with Jews, Muslims, Christians and those of all faiths and none come together to help others and build stronger local communities. Globally, 40,000 participated in events.

Starmer, who has been taking part for many years, said: “It is always a pleasure to participate in Mitzvah Day and support the incredible work they do. I’ve been marking the day with South Hampstead Synagogue in my constituency for several years and am building up quite a collection of the iconic green t-shirts.

Sir Keir Starmer taking part in Mitzvah Day 2021 (photo credit: Tom Pullen)

“Mitzvah Day is special for many reasons, but I am always struck by the way that it brings people from different faith communities together to give their time to help others.”

He was joined in South Hampstead by Mitzvah Day chief executive Georgina Bye, who said Georgina said: “It has been truly special to see people from all faiths and backgrounds come together around shared goals and values this Mitzvah Day – including being with Sir Keir Starmer at this social action project making a real difference in South Hampstead.”

The shul was just one of 500 places of worship, schools, offices and other organisations taking part in Mitzvah Day up and down the country. Major activities took place in London, Manchester, Leeds, Coventry, Glasgow, Birmingham and Brighton. More than 30 other countries also took part this year.

One of the biggest events happened across Bradford and Leeds, where all faiths came together to collect items for domestic abuse charities Staying Put and Leeds Women’s Aid. Those taking part included Humayun Islam, Chief executive officer at BEAP Community Partnership, Bishop of Bradford Toby Howarth, Reverend Jenny Ramsden and Jewish MP Alex Sobel.

WIJPS does Mitzvah Day!

Reverend Ramsden said: “People from the Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Christian communities donated goods and helped at our Mitzvah Day event. This showed interfaith at its best.”

This year’s theme was ‘Together This Mitzvah Day’ – with many coming together for the first time after almost two years of lockdowns and restrictions.

Those taking part for the first time included the Coptic Church, who joined together with Alyth Synagogue for a collection for a local food bank.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis highlighted how many communities focussed on the environment this year, as he joined Bushey United Synagogue to tidy the gardens of the Watford Peace Hospice.

Mitzvah Day at Shapla Hall, Bradford
Alex Sobel MP Leeds North West, Homayun Islam , Rev Jenny Ramsden, Bishop of Bradford, Simon Phillips

He said: “It is truly wonderful to be taking part in Mitzvah Day once again. I am particularly enthused by the variety of environmental activities bringing people together this year.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is another long-term Mitzvah Day supporter, hailing the day as “a wonderful tradition that I am once again proud to be able to support”.

He added: “I am filled with so much pride to see the thousands of volunteers who every year donate their time to do something positive for their communities.”

Kisharon, joined forces with the 20th Finchley Jewish Scout group and Alei Tzion Synagogue, for a range of activities including planting bulbs donated by Rotary in the Kisharon Garden in Childs hill, at Jewish Care’s Asher Loftus Way together with local MP Theresa Villers, and taking part in Woodside Park Synagogue’s collection for Chipping Barnet Food Bank and clothes for St Johns Hospice

The 20th Finchley Jewish scout group painted the fence at The Kisharon partnership library in Child’s Hill for Mitzvah Day

Cub member, Jonah said “I really enjoyed helping plant for Mitzvah Day with my brother and the Scouts group. I hope everyone at Kisharon and the library users enjoy the garden when the flowers bloom”.

Cub member Jonah of The 20th Finchley Jewish Scout group helps plant at the Kisharon partnership library in Childs Hill for Mitzva Day

Neha Dhakar, Kisharon Social Enterprise manager said, “The children did a fantastic job of planting bulbs and painting the fence despite the freezing weather. It was the coldest day of the winter yet and they all had smiles on their faces ready to embrace it and help us. We can’t wait to host them again next year so they can see the fruits of their labour!”.

Jewish charities took part in Mitzvah Day, with mental health group JAMI urging people to ‘pay it forward’ at its community café, Head Room, in Golders Green.

Camp Simcha, which supports seriously ill children, held a blood drive with Joel Bear Appeal at Edgware Blood Centre. Food parcels for the donors were packed in advance by Members of Jewish Care’s Michael Sobell JCC and Holocaust Survivors’ Centre.

Camp Simcha Head of Services Daniel Gillis said: “We so appreciated the support of Jewish Care’s members – packing food for our blood drive. We have been running this with Joely Bear on Mitzvah Day for several years and we were thrilled to have a great turn-out once again. With Covid now, we need to make sure the food which donors receive after giving blood is all individually wrapped so having the support of Jewish Care members to make this happen has been wonderful.”

Norwood, which supports people with special needs held a range of activities including a virtual cooking session over Zoom, raising money for Children In Need and making special Jewish-festival themed murals. Young Norwood Connect Committee also entertained people with football, tennis and music sessions.

Camp SImcha mitzvah day blood drive with Joely Bear Jodie Popeck, Rachel Lewis, Hayley Lewis (left to right)

Volunteers from Kenton Synagogue also delivered afternoon tea to some of our local adult residential services, which they enjoyed while participating in a Zoom concert led by Norwood’s Jewish Cultural Adviser Dov.

Chief Executive Dr Beverley Jacobson: “Throughout the past week, dozens of activities took place across our services for Mitzvah Day and all credit goes to the Norwood team who worked hard to maximise the involvement of the community despite the limitations that Covid still imposes. Through the efforts of the team we reached hundreds of people who either supported our projects or were recipients of our goodwill. Special thanks goes to all our homes who put in a fantastic effort to make latkes for various food shelters and charities.”

Jewish housing association jLiving marked Mitzvah Day with a visit from High journalists, together with Mitzvah Day founder, Laura Marks. Editor, Andre Langlois and reporters Sally Patterson and Nathalie Raffray, spoke to tenants at  two schemes and answered questions about the paper and local issues.

Ham and High journalists meeting with a resident at Jliving

Jane Goodman, CEO of jLiving, said: “We are delighted that a team of journalists from the Ham & High, together with Mitzvah Day founder Laura Marks took the time out of their busy day to visit and engage with some of our tenants. We always like to get involved with Mitzvah Day and our tenants had a very enjoyable experience as well as having the opportunity to ask questions and engage with the journalists about issues that are important to them.”

150 ImpACT volunteers who got busy in a range o volunteering initiatives, including a Bar Bat ImpACT programme visiting the Association of Jewish Refugees. They made 100 personalised care packages and Chanukah cards for AJR members, while another team volunteered their time to teach English to Israeli youngsters online. Another group wrapped hundreds of gifts for seriously ill children in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital, Camp Simcha and Noah’s Ark Hospice, before hearing from inspiring guest speakers.

Project Impact wrapathon

Joe, an ImpACT volunteer said: “Wrapping the presents was both really enjoyable and fulfilling. The speakers were very inspiring and we learnt about how much Camp Simcha do to bring light to children in hospital”

Liran, another ImpACT Volunteer: “It was amazing to be able to teach English to Israeli kids, especially knowing that this education will really impact their lives in the future. It was also an amazing opportunity to wrap presents for children in hospital. I felt really good about myself knowing that I put a smile on the faces of children that just need something to be joyful about”

More than 150 volunteers took part in Project Impact’s activities

Project ImpACT Programme Co-ordinator Orit Krop said “This event has become even more important since Covid, as children with serious illnesses are more isolated than ever. Most playrooms in hospitals have been temporarily closed and some young patients are unable to access the few that have remained open due to the risk of infection. Playing is so important for all children but is especially essential for those that are seriously ill as it can improve their wellbeing and reduce the anxiety, fear and stress that comes with being in hospital”.

Outside of London people of all came together for the The Friendship Circle Manchester which ollected items for the homeless.

Its community members and volunteers were joined by friends from Heaton Park Hebrew Congregation, Shrubberies Shul and the North Manchester Masjid Mosque to sort what they had collected, and also pack 30 care packs to be given out on the streets – all including homemade treats.

The donated food and winter wear is now being delivered to the SSO-Sikh Sewa Organisation and the Cornerstone Day Centre in Manchester.

Hampstead Synagogue collections outside supermarkets

Esty Bruck, Co-founder and Programme Director of The Friendship Circle Manchester, said: “It was a super Mitzvah Day bringing together so many communities to make such an impact for those who need it the most.

“People of all abilities have so much to give and Mitzvah Day is a perfect opportunity for this!

“One of the most special moments was later in the evening handing, someone who was living on the streets a care pack and blanket and watching him immediately wrap himself up keep warm on such a freezing night.”

Manchester Reform Synagogue performed their annual Southern Cemetery clean up, while also putting on a Mitzvah Day Food Drive for the Manchester Central Food Bank.

Whitefield Hebrew Congregation had a mass community collection for GIFT. They set up 15 hubs around the community, including one in the synagogue’s car park, where dropped off their donations and then spent the evening sorting everything out.

Day of activities at Golders Green Synagogue including knitting for the homeless and planting a tree

The team at Jewish Action for Mental Health (JAMH) joined the Prestwich Clean Team litter pick. The interfaith group collected about 15 bags of rubbish from the Kings Road area of Prestwich in Manchester. They were joined by the Board of Deputies’ Regional Manager Sara Radivan and the Leader of Bury Council Eamonn O’Brien.

Sara also attended other events in Manchester throughout the day, including joining Salford Bnei Akiva who were making Chanukah decorations to be donated to The Fed.

Shenley United Synagogue collecting for GIFT

Fellow youth group Habonim Dror ran a Manchester Mitzvah Day – as well as events Leeds, London, Glasgow and Manchester – looking at climate change and recycling and then making art and games out of materials that usually go in the recycling bin.

Bowden Shul (South Manchester Synagogue) also had a multitude of projects. They supported homeless charity The Wellspring Stockport, with a rucksack challenge – asking people to donate rucksack filled with items such as sleeping bags, flask and gloves – and a Christmas presents campaign. They also hosted an interfaith tea party at the synagogue inviting all members of the Altrincham Interfaith Group.

From Right to Left Rabbi Adam Zagoria-Moffet, Councillor Iqbal Zia, President of Mauritian Muslim Welfare Association and Father Richard Watson

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