Week of Extraordinary Deeds motivates community to “do good”

by | Sep 5, 2014 | Featured

Monday, Sept. 15, 6:30 pm, Campaign Kick Off
Sunday, Sept. 21, 1:30–3:30 pm, Mitzvah Day VA

If you survey a group of community members and ask them to name one of the most admired Jewish leaders of all time, odds are that you’ll hear the name Golda Meir.

The great, mid-20th century heroine of many, throughout the world, was a teacher, a kibbutznik, Israel’s Minister of Labour, Foreign Minister and its fourth Prime Minister.

When Golda Meir was asked a similar question, the person she named as her inspiration was Theodor Herzl. A 19th century journalist and political activist, Herzl is considered to be the father of modern Zionism, a champion and visionary for the creation of the Jewish State of Israel.

At the 2015 United Jewish Federation of Tidewater Annual Campaign Kick Off on Monday, Sept. 15, the community is invited to see why Meir continues to inspire, and why she looked to Herzl for her own motivation.

The evening’s festivities start at 6:30 pm with a cocktail reception. At 7 pm, the theatrical presentation, Will It, Create It, Achieve It, begins.

Starring professional actors Gail Beyer and Michael Lifshitz, the show brings Meir and Herzl to life. The performance, which has impressed Jewish audiences throughout the country, is compelling in its portrayal of the impact one person can make on another person, on a community or on a nation.

“This Kick Off performance, the face to face and online conversations and good deeds that we’ll be taking part in during this truly extraordinary week, are so important to our understanding of all the things that we do, and the broad spectrum of ways that we touch the world, and make Hampton Roads a better place and the United States a better place,” says Karen Jaffe, 2015 UJFT Annual Campaign chair.

“As Jewish people, it’s important that we all take a part in accepting the responsibility for those who find themselves challenged at this moment in history—economically, politically, because of wars or other crises,” Jaffe says. “We are different. We are special. And we are here to take care of each other. We do that by giving what we can, how we can, to the Annual Campaign.”

Jaffe hopes that rather than merely absorbing the words of Herzl and Meir, community members gain inspiration at the Kick Off and then are active participants in the UJFT’s Week of Extraordinary Deeds. Be the one, says Jaffe, to initiate positive change, to do good, and to show a commitment to the Jewish values upon which the UJFT’s mission is based.

Social media will be part of the Week’s events. In the days following the Kick Off, posts on the UJFT Facebook page will suggest simple good deeds that anyone who visits and likes the page can do to help build a stronger Jewish community in Tidewater, aid vulnerable populations, and show the global Jewish family that this area is vibrant, and people here care.

The Week of Extraordinary Deeds concludes with the 1st Annual Mitzvah Day VA on Sunday, Sept. 21.

Mitzvah Day invites every community member and friend of the Jewish community to lend a hand and help others. Five diverse projects will take place at a variety of locations, followed by a Mitzvah Day Pool Party and Cookout for participants at the Simon Family JCC.

Mitzvah Day projects include:
• Todah Rabah
(Thank you), making paracord survival bracelets and writing notes of support for U.S. and Israeli troops, at the Sandler Family Campus

• L’dor V’dor
(From generation to generation), baking, creating, or playing games with Beth Sholom Village seniors, at Beth Sholom

• Gemilut Chasidim
(Acts of loving-kindness), making no-sew fleece blankets for area homeless residents, at the Sandler Family Campus

• Tikkun Olam
(Repairing the world), a special planting project at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s new Brock Environmental Center, at Pleasure House Point in Virginia Beach

• L’Chaim!
(To life!), walking as a Mitzvah Day team in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, at Neptune’s Park, 31st St. and the Boardwalk.

“When people ask why we have to have an Annual Campaign every year, the honest answer is that the problems don’t go away. This Week of Extraordinary Deeds gives people many opportunities to be a leader, to be the one who does something—and what they’re doing is important and it’s valuable,” says Jaffe.

“After the whole week of us meeting each other, seeing each other in restaurants or interacting on Facebook, and taking joy and pride in what we do as a community— the Mitzvah Day Pool Party is just going to be a fun way for all of us to come together, and for us to really celebrate that this year, and every year, we continue to be part of the solution,” says Jaffe.

More information and registration forms for Mitzvah Day can be found at JewishVA.org, or register by phone at 757-965-6136.

To RSVP for the Annual Campaign Kick Off, email extraordinary@ujft.org or call 757‑965-6115 by Sept.11.

UJFT Week of Extraordinary Deeds events are all free and open to the community. “Like” the UJFT on Facebook: fb.com/UJFTidewater.