Leadership group plans community-wide Mitzvah Day

by | Aug 15, 2014 | What’s Happening

Members of the Mitzvah Day Planning committee: Kara Molin, Karen and Matt Fine, Randi Gordon, Karen Bennett and Karen Kendall. Not pictured, Marcia Brodie.

Members of the Mitzvah Day Planning committee: Kara Molin, Karen and Matt Fine, Randi Gordon, Karen Bennett and Karen Kendall. Not pictured, Marcia Brodie.

Sunday, Sept. 21, 1:30–3:30 pm

by Laine Mednick Rutherford

An unpredicted outcome of the leadership group ATID (Hebrew for future) was the connection its members felt with each other, and with the Tidewater Jewish Community.

When the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Strategic Plan initiative launched last January, many of ATID’s 22 members didn’t know each other, and some weren’t familiar with the organizations and synagogues represented in the diverse group.

In June, after six months of workshops, speakers and “aha” moments, the 22 members didn’t want the understanding they had gleaned and the connections they had forged to dissipate.

The group decided that if its members could successfully cross boundaries of institutions and religious practices and thrive and feel more connected, then maybe many others in the Jewish community could, as well.

The result of ATID’s determination will be realized at the 1st Annual Tidewater Mitzvah Day. Planned and organized by ATID members, the five Mitzvah Day projects are purposefully designed so that everyone in the community—no matter their affiliation, level of observance, socio-economic class or age—can participate and do good deeds.

“Mitzvah Day will be people from all of our Jewish organizations working together, doing what we are supposed to do as Jews— commanded to do: build one community,” says Karen Fine, co-chair of the Mitzvah Day steering committee with her husband, Matt.

In order to fulfill the group’s goal of strengthening the community by breaking down organizational walls—that feeling of community connectedness—Matt Fine says projects were carefully chosen, without the specification that they only benefit Jews.

“These projects are inclusive of everyone and provide a great flexibility of mitzvot to choose from,” says Matt Fine. “We expect hundreds of people to participate, and we’d definitely like to see this become a yearly community event.”

Mitzvah Day projects will take place at four locations. A Pool Party and Cookout follow for participants at the Simon Family JCC. There is no charge to take part and everyone is welcome.

The five Mitzvah Day projects include: Todah Rabah (Thank you), making paracord bracelets and writing notes of support for U.S. and Israeli troops.; L’dor V’dor (From generation to generation), baking, creating, or playing games with Beth Sholom Village seniors; Gemilut Chasidim (Acts of loving-kindness), making no-sew fleece blankets for area homeless residents; Tikkun Olam (Repairing the world), a special planting project for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s new Brock Environmental Center; and L’Chaim! (To life!), walking as a Mitzvah Day team in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes.

Tidewater Mitzvah Day is the culminating event in the UJFT’s Week of Extraordinary Deeds, which includes the 2015 Annual Campaign Kick Off on Monday, Sept. 15, and a week of ongoing connection through face-to-face interactions and social media initiatives.

For more information and to register for Mitzvah Day projects, visit JewishVA.org/Be-Extraordinary.

Mitzvah Day Committee
ATID 2014 Participants

Susan Alper – United Jewish Federation of Tidewater
Jody Alperin – Congregation Beth El
Wendy Auerbach – Temple Israel
Karen Bennett – Congregation Beth Chaverim (Gemilut Chasidim Project Chair)
Marcia Brodie – Temple Israel (L’dor V’dor Project Chair)
Lisa Cohen – Ohef Sholom Temple
Lynn Cohen – Jewish Family Service of Tidewater
Karen Fine – Ohef Sholom Temple (Mitzvah Day VA Co-Chair)
Matt Fine – United Jewish Federation of Tidewater (Mitzvah Day VA Co-Chair)
Randi Gordon – Hebrew Academy of Tidewater (Todah Rabah Project Chair)
Karen Kendall – Congregation Beth Chaverim (L’Chaim Project Chair)
Jay Kossman – Beth Sholom Village
Ross Legum – Congregation Beth El
Jason Lovitz – Temple Emanuel
Kara Molin – Congregation Beth Chaverim (Tikkun Olam Project Chair)
Marc Moss – Simon Family JCC
Howard Roesen – Simon Family JCC
Ellen Rosenblum – Jewish Family Service of Tidewater
Myra Savransky – Kempsville Conservative Synagogue (KBH)
Linda Sinowitz – Congregation Beth Chaverim
Helen Sissel – Temple Emanuel
Ralph Soussan – Simon Family JCC