Change the world with your mitzvah project
Posted on October 29, 2010
Today’s issue of the Cleveland Jewish News has an article I wrote highlighting the importance of Mitzvah Projects and things to consider when selecting a project. I have pasted the article below:
Preparing for your bar or bat mitzvah creates the perfect opportunity to reflect on who you are, what type of person you want to be, and how you can impact others.
In choosing your bar or bat mitzvah project, you have an opportunity to find a cause that is important to you and to create a meaningful activity around it. You may change the world or just a piece of it.
Here are some tips to help you select a project to complement your bar or bat mitzvah training:
- Consider what becoming a bar or bat mitzvah means to you.
- Be mindful that you are the person becoming a young adult and accepting your place in the Jewish community. Yes, it’s important to have your parents, family, friends and teachers involved in your project, but remember that you must lead the effort.
- Let your hobbies guide you. Try to select an activity you enjoy, and find a way to help others enjoy it, too. For example, if you love sports, you could collect sports equipment for a team of urban at-risk youth. Think about how to incorporate your skills into your project. If you enjoy reading, perhaps you could record books on tape for people who are blind. Some young people want to raise money for medical research because they know someone who has a certain disease.
- Look up local, national or international organizations for a cause you are passionate about.
- Reach out to organizations and speak with them about partnering on a project for their benefit. Ask for wording about what the charity does or a wish list of things you can buy with some or all of your gift money.
- Tell everyone about your project. Mention it in your invitations or enclose a letter to your guests. Explain why this particular cause is meaningful to you.
- Infuse your project into all aspects of your party. Arrange centerpieces that either raise awareness for the cause or contain items that can be donated, like canned food or teddy bears. Offer a hands-on project at your party to benefit an organization you feel passionate about. Open a philanthropic fund with some of your gift money.
- Incorporate the lessons you have learned by being involved with a particular organization into your speech or d’var Torah.
- Try to select a project you can continue after your celebration, maybe even for years to come.