Watford Mitzvah Day 2016
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Thursday 1st December 2016

Watford Synagogue's young and old brighten lives on Mitzvah Day

Along with Jewish communities all around the UK, Watford US participated in ‘Mitzvah Day’ – a day of good deeds to help those in need in the wider community. Members of Watford Synagogue participated in a number of different activities and events to involve as many people in the community as possible.

In the run-up to the annual event, the Watford community embarked on a collectathon to support several charities. These included:

  • Tinned, dried and kosher foods for GIFT, which provides food to almost 2,000 people weekly but whose stocks are currently running low.
  • Toys, new board games, stationery, small puzzles, card games and activity kits for Camp Simcha, which improves quality of life for Jewish families in the UK coping with cancer and other serious childhood illnesses. It does this by providing a range of 24/7 support services for the parents and powerful positive experiences for the children, including siblings. Each year, Camp Simcha collects and distributes toys to children of all religions in hospitals and hospices over the festive period.
  • Warm clothes, shoes and any unwanted Judaica for ‘The Together Plan’, which empowers communities in the former Soviet Union to help themselves. The charity is currently working with socially and economically disadvantaged communities in Belarus and is helping to revive Judaism through youth training and education, heritage projects and the preserving of memories.
  • Collecting a variety of items from clothes, board games and toys to household items, bric-a-brac, furniture, ornaments and toiletries for the New Hope charity shop in Queens Road, Watford. The money raised by the charity’s shop goes directly to fund New Hope’s frontline work year-round. New Hope is a lifeline for some of the most vulnerable people in Watford, especially now that winter is on us, and the money raised by their shop is critical.

During Cubs, Brownies and Cheder sessions, children created collages, paintings and Chanukah cards for the children in Aleh residential homes, which care for over 700 Israeli children and young people with severe physical and cognitive disabilities.

The week before Mitzvah Day, Watford Synagogue welcomed participants at the end of the annual Watford Interfaith Association (WIFA) pilgrimage around six places of worship in the town to promote tolerance and understanding between different faiths. Following a warm welcome by minister Rabbi Levine, guests were able to chat to each other and break down barriers over refreshments.

On Mitzvah Day itself, a small but enthusiastic team of parents and children helped regenerate the wildlife garden at local Nascot Wood Infants School and also made the quadrangle in the school useable. 

Learning how to rotovate

Jodie Sacks with young volunteers

Yoav Foxman and helpers take pride in a job well done