Projects with a purpose planned for Tidewater’s 2nd Annual Mitzvah Day

October 16, 2015

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Sunday, Oct. 25, 1:30–4:30 pm, Sandler Family Campus
All ages. Free and open to the community. Register at www.JewishVA.org/mitzvah-day.

Volunteers who participate in the community-wide 2nd Annual Mitzvah Day will be changing lives, not just in Tidewater, but in small Army outposts in Israeli villages. And not just this year, but for years to come.

The afternoon event requires no special expertise— only the desire to do good deeds. Mitzvah Day includes live music from the band Allegro and provides community service hours for students. Kosher food will be available to purchase.

All of the projects designed by the 28-member Mitzvah Day committee have components in which everyone, from preschoolers to seniors, can participate.

In blogs posted on www.JewishVA.org/blog, and in posts on www.facebook/UJFTidewater, Mitzvah Day committee chairs share their passion for these projects, and how the mitzvot (good deeds, or commandments) will make life better for others. Excerpts from those posts include:

Blankets for the Homeless: Repeated by request after its inclusion at last year’s Mitzvah Day. Volunteers make no-sew blankets by tying together large panels of fleece fabric, as well as lunches for the homeless. Participants will have the chance to learn more about the Blankets for the Homeless organization and meet its 21-year-old founder. Blankets and meals will be distributed offsite.

“We chose to make blankets for the homeless because helping people in dire need is at the heart of what Torah is trying to teach us. To recognize that everyone is made in the divine image is to realize that everyone deserves to live in dignity. If there are people who need help it is our obligation to answer.”
—Jennifer Adut

Thank Israeli Soldiers: Volunteers will gather donated items—listed on the JewishVA Mitzvah Day webpage—to send to Israel, where they will be distributed in care packages to young men and women serving in the military. Cardmaking stations to create notes of gratitude and support to accompany the care packages will be available. Participants can learn more about the organization whose mission is to help soldiers during and after their service.

“Thank Israel Soldiers is an organization that was founded not only to educate soldiers, but to let them know how much they are appreciated by Jews throughout the world. It’s with great joy that we have included them as a recipient of our donations and efforts on our community Mitzvah Day.”
—Amy Lefcoe

Havdalah at Home: Observing the end of Shabbat and the beginning of a new week through the ceremony known as Havdalah, is itself a mitzvah, and finding out more about it is part of this project. Participants will learn prayers and make and take home items used in the service: a braided candle and a small bag filled with spices.

“My introduction to the real meaning of havdalah came during my JWRP (Jewish Women’s Renaissance Program) trip to Israel in the summer of 2014. Hundreds of women from around the world gathered at the Kotel (the Western Wall) to experience this inspiring ritual. The havdalah candle was lit. Blessings were said over wine, over fragrant spices and over the flame that glowed in our hands. Then as quickly as the final blessing was said, the flame was extinguished, and “shavuah tov” (a good week) rang out. I hope it can enlighten others’ lives in the same way mine was.”
—Brenda Kozak

A Gift of Music: Donations of unused instruments, such as guitars, keyboards, or clarinets will be packed and sent to disadvantaged children living in Pardes Katz, Israel. Participants can write a quick note or song to the Israeli children at a decorating station.

“I have seen the positive impact music has on people’s lives when they are given the opportunity to create their own music and play their own instrument. It is my hope that our community can donate lots of different kinds of playable instruments and sheet music, and/or money to put towards buying these things for the children at Pardes Katz, and that we ship them over quickly for them to begin using! The opportunities and materials provided for the children are things that these families don’t have access to otherwise.”
—Marilyn Johns

Children’s Art Project: Children of all ages will craft placemats for residents and patients at Beth Sholom Village. The useable artwork will brighten meals and rooms at the assisted living and skilled nursing facility.

“Being able to involve children in the opportunity to do a Mitzvah is important for all of us. It allows them to make a difference along with their parents. Their art work will bring a little bit of joy to others”
—Melissa Kass

For more information about Mitzvah Day, to register as a volunteer, and to see lists of items needed, visit www.JewishVA.org, email apomerantz@ujft.org, or call 757-965-6136.

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