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Bring a Little Joy – A Day for Everyone

November 12, 2012 – 12:18 pm5 Comments

Bringing people together, Mitzvah Day 2011

By Judy Feiglin
Following the success of last year’s initiative, Mitzvah Day activities will again take place this year across Melbourne on Sunday, November 25.

Born out of the belief that we can all make a positive difference to our world by taking action ­– Mitzvah Day is based on the Jewish values of tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedek (righteousness), and gemilut chasadim (acts of loving kindness).

The idea of a Mitzvah Day originated in the US more than 20 years ago, and Mitzvah Day International was launched in the UK in 2008. Last year 25,000 people in 300 communities in 22 countries took part in the Jewish-led day of social action.

On Mitzvah Day, Jews – as well as those touched by the Jewish world – improve the world, in some small way, by taking part in a range of activities, such as collecting and distributing food and clothing, singing to and befriending seniors and people who are socially isolated, joining refugees in picnics, donating blood, making over public spaces, making and sending gifts to needy children and more.

The great thing about Mitzvah Day is that EVERYONE, be they of religious or secular inclination, can perform mitzvot in a fashion that suits their being.

Our vision is to reduce hardship and poverty, help our environment, and to bring a little joy where it is needed, all through hands-on participation. It is a way for people to take an active part regardless of their affiliation, age, sex, location. Mitzvah Day brings new and enthusiastic volunteers to those who need support.

The afternoon I spent volunteering at the South Melbourne Family Day last year was fantastic. People were laughing, singing, dancing, eating, involved in art and craft activities and more. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, make friends and learn much more about people I knew already.

The power of that positive experience is indescribable – it was elating and enriching – and I came away feeling I had gained so much for what I had given. I encourage anyone who has even the slightest interest to get involved this year – the experience will certainly be well worth the effort.

Michelle Perl
Mitzvah Day volunteer

Helping out; hanging out, Mitzvah Day 2011

Mitzvah Day serves as a platform for creating local relationships, both within the Jewish community, and with those from other faiths and communities. By working together for the common good we build stronger communities, making them better places to live.

During Melbourne’s inaugural Mitzvah Day last year, 500 people got involved. This year on November 25, we hope even more people will participate.

There are already 20 registered projects for this year’s Melbourne Mitzvah Day. To get involved in one of these projects, to suggest a new project, or simply to find out more, visit the website or contact info AT mitzvahday.org.au

Judy Feiglin is one of the organisers of Mitzvah Day.

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  • Harry Joachim says:

    The Mitzvah Day seems like worthwhile initiative, but when are Frosh and the other editors going to do their job properly and prevent articles which are simply lengthy promotions of events? Other recent pieces have, for example, promoted NIF Australia events.

    If the articles were reflections by THIRD PARTIES about these events after the fact, I would understand (such as the recent piece by Manny Waks calling into question the choice of speaker at the ADC’s oration). However, this shameless self-promotion by representatives of the organisations hosting events is ridiculous.

  • Sorry Harry,

    We didn’t realise that you had defined the purpose of this website, and that we shouldn’t allow community organisations to promote worthwhile events.

    We guess we should never have published the following:

  • Harry Joachim says:

    How does Galus Australis define a “worthwhile” event?

  • Mandi Katz says:

    I didn’t set up Galus and I don’t spend my own time and money running it so I don’t tell its editors what it should and shouldn’t cover. I just appreciate the forum it provides and the chance to comment in real time on issues affecting Jewish life in Australia.

    But I would have thought that an advantage of an on-line publication is that because its production costs are relatively low and there is no real issue around space/word count, the forum provides a great chance to promote events as well as to critique them. If the author’s involvement with the event or organisation is made clear , readers can decide how much weight to give the content.

    As to what’s worthwhile – I’d say it’s worthwhile it the event promoted or the content of the article, is likely to engage people with Jewish issues and ideas.

    On that test NIF events and Mitzvah Day both fit the bill as do other things publicised by Galus – the Jewish film festival, Moishe house, Limmud Oz. And so do articles which reported on research findings of the AJDS, ADC and JCCV (all of which have been published by Galus) notwithstanding that they also promote the organisation which conducted the research.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    Thank you Mandy for explaining the policy so cogently (even though you are not associated with the management team!). It would have been nice had the “Galus Australis” commentator replied to my original comment as you have. “Galus Australis” seemed more interested in knocking what I thought was a perfectly legitimate question.

    Frosh – perhaps you need someone like Mandi to engage in some hasbara on your behalf?

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