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Yesterday, communities in Belarus tried their hand at social action, often for the first time and with incredible success, as part of Mitzvah Day.
Mitzvah Day is a day devoted to social action – to giving our time to help the wider community. Already established in the UK, USA, Israel, Australia and elsewhere, this year The Together Plan in partnership with Mitzvah Day UK introduced the annual event to Belarus for the first time. In Belarus, where Jewish communities are accustomed to being on the receiving end of charitable efforts, learning to give as well as receive – both to their community and to wider society – is a vital step towards self-sufficiency. The event was an enormous success, with five communities across Belarus undertaking important and meaningful projects:
In Polotsk, as part of their Sunday School, children made gifts to give to pupils at a nursery for children with special needs, and then visited the nursery to present their gifts.
In Bobruisk, community members visited the Jewish cemetery, removing overgrown weeds and shrubs and carrying out other maintenance to the graves.
In Minsk, younger community members visited survivors of the Minsk Ghetto who are currently in hospital.
In Gomel, Hatikvah School, the only state Jewish school in Belarus, benefited from maintenance work carried out by community members.
In Slutsk, young members of the community visited elderly or disabled community members, providing entertainment, the opportunity for conversation, and relief from their isolation.