On Sunday, February 7, the Soloway Jewish Community Centre will open its doors for the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s 10th annual Mitzvah Day – bringing all ages together for acts of chesed (kindness) to help those in need and to learn more about mitzvot (Torah commandments) that through their performance help to repair the world.
Mitzvah Day is about fulfilling the Jewish concept of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and encouraging people of all ages to give their time to worthwhile local causes and create deeper connections between organizations and people within the Jewish and broader Ottawa community. It is a day entirely focused on making the world a better place one good deed at a time. It is about enriching lives with hands-on Judaism.
In an effort to put the mitzvah back in Mitzvah Day, the Mitzvah Day Committee is hard at work planning and organizing a wide variety of activities that include collections of food for the Ottawa Kosher Food Bank, new or gently used work-appropriate jewelry and purses for Ottawa’s Dress for Success, and gently used board games and craft supplies for the Crossroads Children’s Centre, a mental health centre that provides services for children under 12 with complex mental health needs and their families.
Returning favourite activities include making sandwiches for the Ottawa Mission, braiding challahs for donation to the Kosher Food Bank, creating birthday celebration kits for children living in shelters and serving meals at Shepherds of Good Hope.
New mitzvot include a workshop on honouring our parents and creating therapy kits for children at Crossroads who are dealing with stress and anxiety. Also this year, children can cheer up Hillel Lodge residents by participating in a sing-along with well-known children’s entertainer Monkey Rock.
This year, we have also partnered with Hair Donation Ottawa, a local not-for-profit that co-ordinates hair donation in order to create wigs for children who are suffering from medical hair loss. Anyone interested in donating hair for this worthwhile cause should keep growing it – the minimum length of hair to donate is six inches.
Mitzvah Day offers a great opportunity for parents to teach their children about the Jewish principle of kindness and putting others before themselves. From feeding the hungry to providing comfort for the destitute to embracing and engaging seniors and those with disabilities, Mitzvah Day goes beyond the boundaries of our community to help those less fortunate, putting Jewish values in action.
Mitzvah Day would not be possible without the generosity of our lead sponsor Ginsberg Gluzman Fage & Levitz (GGFL) Chartered Accountants. Their continued support of this community-wide event makes this event possible. GGFL also lends a hand by coming out and actively engaging in many of the mitzvot and, this year, they will be running one of the activities!
February 7 is just around the corner, so get ready to roll up your sleeves and make a difference. I look forward to seeing you there! For more details about Mitzvah Day or to register, visit www.mitzvahdayottawa.com.