This Day of Doing Good Turned Into an International Movement

Mitzvah Day is an interfaith celebration of kindness and doing good.

Jan 17, 2019

The word 'mitzvah' is Hebrew for 'commandment,' but has long been used to mean an act of kindness or a good deed. That is what International Mitzvah Day in the UK and beyond is based on.

Guided by the principals of healing a broken world, doing social justice, and acts of loving kindness, Mitzvah Day was founded by Laura Marks in 2005 after she returned to the UK after living in Los Angeles. She had experienced a Mitzvah Day in her local Jewish community and thought it could be expanded to a national day of social action.

Headquartered in London, the event since spread to other international communities in Europe, North America, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, and beyond. The name of the organization was changed to International Mitzvah Day in 2012 to reflect the inclusion of international partners.

Mitzvah Day in the UK  is based within the Jewish Community, but most of the projects are designed for Jews and non-Jews alike, to work together as a community to help one another. That is why Mitzvah Day always takes place on the first day of the UK National Interfaith Week. In 2019, Mitzvah Day will take place on Sunday, November 17.

Prime Minister Theresa May said, “I am proud to have taken part in many Mitzvah Day events. Mitzvah Day is a brilliant initiative which brings people from different backgrounds together with one united goal.”

There is information about registration and how to run a mitzvah day project on the organization's website. But the organizations are not confined to only one day of the year. There are 365 social action projects that can be done all year.

One project is the Separated Child collection for unaccompanied young refugees that offers emotional, financial and physical support for separated young people in Britain up to age 21. Every child receives a welcome pack when they arrive. The packs are made from donations from the general public and there is a need for donations of scarves, gloves, hats, and toiletry items. Over 9,000 packs have been distributed.

Another project is knitting or crocheting hats for neonatal units. Volunteers are needed to create the bright orange hats that are given to the newborns who need extra care. Over 150 hats are distributed every month.

Help and Hope distributes essential items for rough sleepers (homeless people). This project is run by two Borehamwood residents who along with a small group of volunteers distribute the donated items every Thursday evening in central London. They could use some help.

There is a food collection for Euston Food Bank because no-one in the community should ever go hungry. They provide three days of nutritionally balanced food to local people in crisis who have been referred to them. They are part of a nationwide network of food banks working to combat food insecurity and poverty in the UK. Donations are always welcomed.

“Mitzvah Day is an excellent example of how people from all walks of life come together, and it shows how easy it is to put Jewish values into action for the benefit of all communities,” said London's mayor Sadiq Khan.

There is a myriad of projects that address the real need in the community to join or start your own. Doing a mitzvah can heal a broken world.

If Mitzvah Day is not your thing, another fantastic way to take part in a global day of social action is to participate in Good Deeds Day on April 15, 2019.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
52 Big and Small Good Deeds to Help Change the World in 2019
How it Feels to Do a Good Deed: A Personal Story
7 Scientific Facts About the Benefit of Doing Good

Goodnet was initiated by Shari Arison and is operated by The Ted Arison Family Foundation. Shari Arison is also the initiator of Good Deeds Day.

BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.

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