He would have never imagined that some colorful face makeup, a red nose, a mismatched, oversized outfit and a balloon animal could elicit the mood-shifting, energy-lifting response that it did, but after attending a Mitzvah Clowning session and seeing the results for himself, Daniel Rothner, Areyvut’s Founder & Director, launched Areyvut’s very own Mitzvah Clowning program.
Inspired to perpetuate the gift that keeps on giving, Daniel and the Areyvut staff have already trained over 500 mitzvah clowns (who have distributed over 10,000 balloons and 8,500 stickers!) to bring joy, laughter and smiles to those in need. What makes this program so special is the intergenerational nature of the program—kids and adults ages 9 to 99 can take part in bringing smiles to faces in this fun and lighthearted activity. Many parents have teamed up with their teens, as well as kids with senior citizens, to lift spirits and promote connection. Even the most shy kids have “found their voice” in their new clown character.
Each new Mitzvah Clown is equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for bikkur cholim (visiting the sick) as well as visiting the elderly and those with special needs. Mitzvah Clowns also learn how to apply clown makeup, create balloon animals and initiate conversations with other who may be different from them.
Since its debut in December 2009, Areyvut has facilitated monthly Mitzvah Clown visits to area senior centers and numerous training sessions with area schools, synagogues and community centers. Daniel considers Mitzvah Clowning “the gift that keeps on giving”; once kids are trained and learn the finer art of interacting with their audience, they can continue to have a profound effect on others throughout their lives. Participants in the program continue their good deeds by visiting with patients on a regular basis, and younger participants have even used this training as part of their Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration.
Visit our Events page to find out when the next Mitzvah Clown training will take place in your neighborhood. We’ll bring the coordinator, supplies, clown kits and outfits; you provide the incredible future Mitzvah Clowns!
If you are interested in learning more about Areyvut’s Mitzvah Clowning program, please contact Daniel Rothner at (201) 244-6702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.