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Shaarey Zedek collected 2 large bins of winter outerwear for Koats for Kids.

By REBECA KUROPATWA
Mitzvah Day was started in 2005 by Laura Marks with the hope of bringing people of all faiths together in the U.K. for one day of doing good works for their communities.
In Winnipeg, the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) had heard of how Mitzvah Day was being carried out with success in Ottawa, and so they decided to start it up in Winnipeg too.
For the first time ever here, Mitzvah Day took place on November 17th, reaping good preliminary success.

 

 


“We were happy that a good variety of Jewish groups came together,” said the NCJW’s Carly Sloshower. “Because this was our first time, we were focused more on getting Jewish groups involved.
“In many other places for Mitzvah Day, they partner with churches and Islamic groups, and it’s a lot more of an interfaith kind of initiative. So, we would like to work on that, now that we’ve kind of drummed up interest in our own community.”
Sloshower became involved with Winnipeg’s NCJW about a year ago, after having moved back to Winnipeg.
In its inaugural year, Winnipeg’s Mitzvah Day, saw a variety of community organizations participate, including:
- Gray Academy of Jewish Education (GAJE) had about 90 volunteers make 1000 sandwiches for Siloam Mission and Main Street Project
- Congregation Etz Chayim had four volunteers playing bingo with four residents from Shalom Residences
- Congregation Shaarey Zedek collected two large bins for Koats for Kids
- Temple Shalom gathered socks for the Main Street Project
- Jewish Child & Family Service (JCFS) raised money to buy 100 pairs of socks to donate to the Main Street Project
- ORT collected four large bags of clothing to donate to Siloam Mission
- PJ Our Way, in partnership with Canadian Associates of Ben Gurion University (BGU) took 20 children to the Winnipeg Humane Society for an educational program, including making toys and “Adopt Me” signs
- - The Jewish Federation Women’s Philanthropy division had 10 members drive nine seniors to and from the Gwen Secter Creative Living Centre’s annual fundraising tea
- The Rady JCC collected food for Winnipeg Harvest
- The National Council of Jewish Women of Canada (NCJWC) - Winnipeg section and the Rady JCC daycare donated 15 boxes of children’s books and several dozen baked goods to Rossbrook House.
While not all the Mitzvah Day events happened on November 17th, most organizations took in their donated items on that day.
“I’m guessing a lot of the groups, because we are in Winnipeg and because we are already getting cold, were focused on helping out homeless shelters and similar initiatives,” said Sloshower.
“I think a good variety of groups came together simultaneously doing different tasks that weren’t just limited to the Jewish community. Personally, it would be nice to see more active projects in terms of people doing more than just dropping off coats and stuff like that. But, it still is the first time we did it here in Winnipeg, and there’s also...it happened to coincide with the 100th anniversary stuff (of the YMHA/Rady JCC) and some other groups’ events.
“Now that we’ve done it once, first of all, whenever we approach different groups, even if they didn’t participate, I think they’ll have a better idea of what it is, in the sense that it’s something that would be great for members to participate in.
“For next year also, I think we will try to partner more with other faiths and cultural groups.”
For more about Mitzvah Day, visit https://mitzvahday.org.uk/ or to learn how to get involved locally, reach out to the NCJW in Winnipeg at http://www.ncjwcwinnipeg.org/about/.

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