PREPARATIONS and projects are set for another year of Mitzvah Day on Sunday, November 17. Aussie Jews will be part of the global movement for the ninth year running, participating in a range of hands-on projects with existing charities and local initiatives across the country.
Volunteers come from a range of communities across the Jewish spectrum. They are also those with no affiliation, or from secular and cultural groups, or who identify as “just Jewish”. It is one day in the year where people can volunteer to do good deeds as a community.
Speaking on her aspirations for this year’s event, Mitzvah Day Australia president Joanne Loewy Irons commented, “I hope that our Australian Jewish community can connect with each other, on a communal level and an individual one; that our Jewish community can connect with the wider society in which we live, being introduced to charities and meeting people they would not otherwise meet.
“To think that Jews around the world are donning green T-shirts on Sunday, November 17 and getting their hands messy and busy with tidying, cleaning, making, baking, sorting, recycling, clapping to music and even just holding hands to dance is heart-warming,” she said.
“We are part of a bigger whole, and we can contribute, making our mark.”
Activities planned in Victoria range from a pop-up repair shop at Temple Beth Israel for those who wish to have an item repaired; an epic cook-off by Souper Kitchen that will prepare more than 1500 free kosher meals for those in the community who are struggling; and Jewish Women’s Awakenings will be hosting a bra drive in aid of the charity Uplift Project.
In New South Wales, B’nai B’rith NSW and Gift of Life Australia have organised a blood bank donation to help find life-saving tissue matches for those in need; volunteers of the Emanuel Synagogue social justice committee will clean up Watsons Bay Beach and the adjourning park; and in Queensland, JNF will facilitate the cleaning up of Jewish grave sites in Brisbane.
“I enjoy the smiles, laughter and bonding as people interact on their projects, and the uplifting sense of pride and naches in all that we can achieve together. It puts the focus on what is good in our society, [instead of being] dragged down by the bleak news and rise in antisemitism,” said Loewy Irons.
“We should never underestimate the change we can make with kindness and connection.”
To register a project, or to volunteer in a Mitzvah Day projects, visit mitzvahday.org.au.