Mitzvah Days mission is to 'reduce hardship and poverty, to help our environment and to bring a little joy where it is needed all through volunteering. It is a way for all of us to make our mark regardless of our affiliation, level of religious conviction, wealth, age, sex or nationality'.
One of the three key areas in their mission is helping the environment. 'If we all do a little, we can acheive a lot.'
In 2009, volunteers from across the UK helped their environment by embarking on a Mitzvah Day environmental project. Here are examples that took place in 2009:
Sukkat Shalom, Edinburgh Liberal Jewish Community
Members of Sukkat Shalom rolled up their sleeves to clear gorse in Holyrood Park in Edinburgh which is both a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its archaeology, geology and wildlife. Although gorse is a lovely blooming bush (and, in the spring, smells like coconut), it tends to crowd out other plants and is a fire hazard to some young trees. The goal was to build a firebreak between the gorse and the trees. Members, guided by Historic Scotland Rangers, used saws to liberated at least 10 young trees that had been hidden in the overgrown gorse.
Woodford Liberal Synagogue
Members of the congregation at Woodford Liberal Synagogue, went down to Forest Farm's Peace Gardens in Hainault as part of the Mitzvah Day celebrations. Once there, the 50 or so green-fingered volunteers helped clear an area of overgrown land to prepare for the planting of trees. Synagogue chairman Daniel Janoff said: “This event is very close to my heart. I am very proud and encouraged that so many of the congregation came to support it on Mitvah Day.” All the group's hard work was rewarded by a special hot lunch which was cooked over an open fire in among the cleared land.
South Hampstead Synagogue
Parliamentary Candidate Chris Philp joins in a Mitzvah Day project: