How to Choose a Mitzvah Project for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah

"One should use one's face, hands, and feet to honor one's Creator" (Tosefta Brachot 4:1).

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The late George Harrison of Beatles fame went one step further. He remembered how his own father, a firefighter in his native England, put his life on the line every time he went out to fight a fire and then used the "Whom Do I Know" principle to raise tens of millions of dollars for relief for fallen firefighters. How did he do it? He called all of his friends, the most famous rock stars we know, and brought them together for an incredible concert. The result? Millions of dollars for relief for the victims of the terror attacks.

Know someone who enjoys playing a musical instrument as much as you do and would like to join you in a concert at a local nursing home? Or maybe you have a relative who is a dentist and is willing to give you dental supplies that can be donated to a dental clinic in Jerusalem? Are you and your friends ace soccer players who could teach kids at a homeless shelter how to play?

There is no end to the answers to this question. You just need to think about it… and do it!

The additional question--"Why Not?"--is generally the easiest of all. Almost always the answer is, "There's no real reason why not. So, let's do it." Now, list your own answers, pick a piece of tikkun olam, and go do it.

Resources for Finding a Mitzvah Project

Areyvut
Areyvut is an organization dedicated to enhancing Bar and Bat Mitzvah experiences through participation in social action. The staff of Areyvut can work with students and their families to develop and personalize social action projects. The Areyvut website is a great resource for B’nai Mitzvah project ideas.

UJA-Federation Mitzvah Project
The Give a Mitzvah-Do a Mitzvah program enables bar and bat mitzvah students to create their own unique mitzvah project that connects their interests and hobbies to UJA-Federation of New York’s work around the world

What Else Can You Do to Make This a Real Mitzvah Party?

Mitzvah Kippot

Want to have the most beautiful kippot for your guests? Ones that no one has ever seen before? Brightly colored and beautifully patterned? Call MayaWorks, Kathleen Morkert, 773-506-4905, mayaworks-chttp://mjlcms.atypica.com:8080/cms/wysiwygedithandlerhi@attbi.com, www.mayaworks.org.

These kippot will not only wow your guests but will also help support the women who make them in remote villages of Guatemala. (These women are VERY busy--you need to place your order very early.)

Mitzvah Tallit (Prayer Shawl) Bag

Want a new tallit bag to hold your first tallit? Reach out to the North American Conference on
Ethiopian Jewry
, 212-233-5200. These bags are made by Ethiopian Jews and are beautiful.

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Naomi Eisenberger

Naomi Eisenberger served as the managing director of the Ziv Tzedakah Fund until it closed in 2008. She is now the Executive Director of the Good People Fund.