Day of hope

Jews, Mus­lims and Chris­tians come to­gether for record­break­ing Mitz­vah Day

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BYBARRYTOBERMAN

25,000 take part 350 events

MITZ­VAH DAY founder and chair Laura Marks con­cedes that her yearly sum­ma­tion is al­ways “it’s the best yet”. But with an es­ti­mated 40,000 peo­ple around the globe par­tic­i­pat­ing in the tenth edi­tion — 25,000 in the UK — Ms Marks ar­gues that “it is not only the num­bers but the qual­ity of projects” that demon­strate the pro­gres­sion of the day of good deeds.

“We have come a long way in 10 years. This is the big­gest col­lec­tive team event.”

Of the 550 Mitz­vah Day events world­wide, around 350 were in the UK, stretch­ing from Ex­eter to St An­drews. Ms Marks — who spent Sun­day vis­it­ing a va­ri­ety of events in north Lon­don and the Hert­ford­shire sub­urbs — praised the com­mit­ment of lo­cal project co-or­di­na­tors. “It would not happ en wi t h o u t them,” she said.

In one of the day’s stand­out ac­tiv­i­ties, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis joined the Mus­lim Coun­cil of Bri­tain’s Imam Ibrahim Mo­gra, MP Lu­ciana Berger and Jewish and Mus­lim youth at Edg­ware Syn­a­gogue, preparing food for a home­less shel­ter.

Lon­don May­oral can­di­date Sadiq Khan, MP, had a busy day, pack­ing parcels for the el­derly at Bel­size Square Syn­a­gogue, help­ing West Lon­don Syn­a­gogue and St Paul’s Church mem­bers to cook lunch for lo­cal res­i­dents and col­lect­ing goods in Ox­ford Street for the shel­ter at King’s Cross Methodist Church.

North­wood and Pin­ner Lib­eral Syn­a­gogue hosted a past and present refugee day with speak­ers rang­ing from those who sur­vived the Holo­caust to Syr­i­ans who have fled the cur­rent con­flict. The shul was also a hub for do­na­tions from lo­cal churches and mosques.

In­no­va­tions that par­tic­u­larly pleased Ms Marks were Mitz­vah Day Ac­tive, in­volv­ing groups of non-af­fil­i­ated younger peo­ple, and set­ting up the day in “places you don’t really think of as Jewish” — Poland, for ex­am­ple. Bridges built with other faith or­gan­i­sa­tions at lo­cal and wider level had led to year-round en­gage­ment in ar­eas such as in­ter­faith di­a­logue and sup­port­ing refugees.

Two post-Mitz­vah Day projects will be re­spec­tively led by Chris­tian and Mus

lim women.

PHOTO: YAKIR ZUR

Chil­dren at a Mitz­vah Day Rea­dathon at JW3

PHO­TOS THIS PAGE: YAKIR ZUR

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Imam Ibrahim Mo­gra cook for the home­less Theresa Villiers, MP, and JLGB’s Bar­net Band at Noah’s Ark char­ity shop Sadiq Khan, MP, joins the par­cel packers at Bel­size Square Syn­a­gogue

Lu­ciana Berger

Laura Marks

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