“An international day of Jewish social action.”
Sunday, November 18 is International Mitzvah Day. Mitzvah Day describes itself as “a Jewish led day of social action. On Mitzvah Day, around the world, thousands of people take part in hands on projects, without fundraising, to support charities and to build stronger communities.”
Their mission is to “reduce hardship and poverty, to help our environment and to bring a little joy – hands on – no fundraising. It is a way for all of us to make our mark regardless of our affiliation, wealth, age, sex or nationality.
“Mitzvah Day is based on the Jewish values of tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedek (righteousness) and gemilut chassadim (acts of lovingkindness).
“Mitzvah Day 2012 will be a part of A Year of Service, a new initiative to encourage people of all faiths to take part in 12 days of volunteering throughout the year. Each day of volunteering is being run by a different faith group, but everyone (of any faith or none) is welcome to join in the social action projects being run on these days across the country.”
In the UK, the Jewish Chronicle reports: “The three main [political] party leaders have encouraged more community members to join the 20,000-plus committed to doing good deeds on Mitzvah Day on November 18. Prime Minister David Cameron said the day was “a fantastic example of people coming together for the good of their community, which is why last year I was pleased to present them [Mitzvah Day] with a Big Society Award.
“This year Mitzvah day is forming part of A Year of Service, highlighting the many community initiatives put on by people of all faiths. This great idea is joining together communities right across the UK.”
In 2011, over 25,000 people from 24 countries, including Australia, South Africa, Poland, Spain, Slovakia, Germany, Portugal, Turkey, the USA and Lithuania participated in Mitzvah Day. Surprisingly, Canada did not, at least not until up to now.
(Photo and editorial credit in part: mitzvahday.org.uk)