Federation Report: Make the world better on Mitzvah Day
By Jonathan and Naomi Mitchell, Mitzvah Day Co-Chairs:
On Sunday, February 3, the Ottawa Jewish community will come together for the 13th Mitzvah Day. This annual event brings together 500 members of the Jewish community to perform good deeds.
We are proud to be co-chairs of this meaningful event, which benefits both our Jewish community and the broader Ottawa community. We were taught the importance of volunteering and have strived to volunteer with Jewish and non-Jewish organizations in all the cities we have lived in, from Toronto to Montreal and now Ottawa. We agreed to co-chair this event for a second year because it allows us to teach our children about Tikkun Olam – performing acts of kindness with the goal of making the world a better place.
This year the Mitzvah Day Committee has added 10 new activities, including exploring the mitzvot of helping the sick and hungry, passing on Jewish traditions, and Jewish learning. The day will start with VIP guests racing to braid challahs, which will later be donated to the Ottawa Kosher Food Bank. Other fun, hands-on activities will provide the perfect opportunity for us all to highlight to our children the impact a person can make as an individual and as part of community.
This year’s mitzvot include assembling soup ingredients into bags to create easy meals that will be donated to the Ottawa Kosher Food Bank; upcycling by making T-shirt tote bags; preparing blankets for CHEO; creating birthday celebration kits to be distributed to children living in shelters; and preparing mishloach manot for Purim. There will also be a sing-along with residents at Hillel Lodge, learning about the prayer in the mezuzah and Hebrew calligraphy, and a cultural scavenger hunt around the Soloway Jewish Community Centre (SJCC).
In addition, this year there is another reason for parents to stay at the SJCC. After enjoying breakfast at the Mitzvah Day kickoff, parents can participate in a casual round table conversation about sharing and transferring Jewish values. While Mitzvah Day usually attracts younger children and families, there are activities for all ages. Children 14 and older can volunteer with Torah High to prepare meals for Ten Yad, or earn volunteer hours by helping at Mitzvah Day.
More information about all these events can be found on the Mitzvah Day website. Please note that registration is required, so take a moment right now and go online to www.mitzvahdayottawa.com. You may also consider making a donation – all proceeds will go toward putting together the day – or signing up to volunteer at the event.
We are so excited for another great Mitzvah Day! On behalf of the Mitzvah Day committee – Deanna Bertrend, Dora Scharf, Eliana Mandel-Carsen, Hal Grossner, Jon Mitzmacher, Lisa Benedik, Marian Leimovici-Morrill, Sarah Beutel and Tanya Poirier – we look forward to seeing you at the SJCC on Sunday morning, February 3, for Mitzvah Day!