There has been a flurry of activity for Mitzvah Day, both here in the UK and in Belarus, in support of our causes and we are very excited! Mitzvah Day is the UK’s largest faith-led day of social action which is now popular across the globe. Over 40,000 people around the world, come together to give their time, not money, to make a difference to the community around them. The initiative introduces people to social action, to their neighbours and to local charities, setting up projects, which address real needs. Jewish-led, this brings together people of all faiths and backgrounds, to volunteer side-by-side, building longstanding, genuine relationships.
In 2015, The Together Plan realised that communities in Belarus could also be active participants in Belarus, not just passive onlookers and this was a real step forward in helping people there take a role in community building, social action, volunteering and so much more. Getting the Mitzvah Day packs out to Belarus was always a big challenge, but we made it happen year on year. This year and last year we were unable to make that happen because of the pandemic, but that didn’t stop the volunteering and the projects from going ahead. Where communities have participated in previous years, their Mitzvah Day t-shirts and banners were brought out and re-used for the day, which we love! In others, where new groups have stepped up, they just got on with giving their time which was very exciting to see.
Here are a few highlights of what has been going on for Mitzvah Day this year:
Children at the North London Jewish Day School made some beautiful challah cloths which will be sent to communities in Belarus.
In Minsk, students helped with a clear up at the park which was once the Jewish Cemetery. Today it stands unmarked, but there are plans to turn it into a memorial park, and on Mitzvah Day, they planted trees – all part of the plan to dedicate the trees to members of the resistance who saved Jews between 1941 and 1943. The cemetery was within the territory of the Minsk Ghetto.
Youth members of the Mogilev Jewish Community made gifts for their older members – a real care in the community project which was well received and much appreciated.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us this Mitzvah Day – please know that it is greatly appreciated.