800 people volunteer on Mitzvah Day

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To read this and other stories from the Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies, download the February 2019 issue of the Chronicle today.

The global initiative ‘Mitzvah Day’ was held on Sunday, 18 November 2018 across Southern Africa. 

Mitzvah Day is an international movement bringing thousands of people together, to give their time, not their money to make a difference in the communities around them. Local Jewish NGO, Mensch, was invited by the events UK founders to host this day locally. It was a day of social action that saw families, friends, faith leaders, politicians and community groups come together to volunteer in local projects and unite behind worthy causes that support the most vulnerable in our society. Underpinned by the principle of a mitzvah, there were over 29 mitzvah projects activated with 850 volunteers giving of their time to serve 2500 people.

Projects ranged from a group of friends donating blood at the Western Cape Blood Transfusion blood bank to a youth interfaith group, together with Alderman Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson cooking nourishing vegetable soup for a homeless shelter in Elsies River, to beautification project at the Cape Jewish Services homes in Buitenkant Street. 

The SAJBD (Cape Council) arranged the Sunshine for Seniors project that saw ‘gogos’ from Ikamva Labantu spend the afternoon having fun decorating cupcakes with the ‘bobbas’ from Highlands House. 

“Next year we would like even more members of our community and outside communities to get involved. The goal is that through Mensch Mitzvah Day people realise it takes very little to be a ‘change-maker’, and that you get back so much more when you ‘do’ for others, rather than just ‘give’.” Mensch Director Gina Flash remarked. 

It is important for the Board to get involved in and promote projects that builds stronger, more integrated communities, like Mitzvah Day, where people of all backgrounds and beliefs have a stake and pride in the place that they live. This was an opportunity to connect our Jewish identity to activities that have a positive impact on local Western Cape communities. 

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