The annual Mitzvah Day in metro Detroit draws nearly 1,000 volunteers from different faiths each year.

The annual Mitzvah Day in metro Detroit draws nearly 1,000 volunteers from different faiths each year.

Photo provided by Lauren Herrin, of the Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee, courtesy of Jeff Aisen


Good deeds go a long way on regional Mitzvah Day

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published December 11, 2018

METRO DETROIT — Any day is a good day for a mitzvah.

On Dec. 25, nearly 1,000 volunteers of all ages will roll up their sleeves and make the community a little bit better with some mitzvahs of their own — that means good deed, in Hebrew — during the 22nd annual Mitzvah Day, an event hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

On Christmas Day, volunteers will depart to various locations in southeast Michigan, including the Detroit Rescue Mission, the Mariners Inn, Cass Community Social Services, the Michigan Humane Society, the Jewish Community Center and Sanctum House. They’ll serve with tasks ranging from meal and toy delivery to families in need, to visiting older residents and helping with household maintenance.

Organizers say it’s the single largest day of volunteering by Detroit’s Jewish community, originally started more than 20 years ago as a way to staff up organizations short on help for the holiday. But since then it has grown into an interfaith day of service, coordinating with the Michigan Muslim Community Council to build an even larger impact.

“It’s truly special to see returning and new individuals, groups and multigenerational families come together to perform meaningful acts on Christmas Day,” JCRC/AJC Executive Director David Kurzmann said in a press release.

For those who want to get out from under the wrapping paper and jingle bells for a little while, there’s still time to volunteer for Mitzvah Day. The JCRC/AJC website has a link to the Eventbrite page, where participants can get free-of-charge “tickets” to around 50 service opportunities in Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties.

Judy Robinson, of West Bloomfield, will be one of the volunteers pitching in that day.

“Mitzvah Day is an ideal time to practice and spread kindness,” she said in an email. “Sometimes it’s reaching outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes it opens a door to more opportunities to volunteer. I love this day because it not only helps others, but also lifts my own spirit.”

Kurzmann added that many people could use a boost to their spirit this season, after the Jewish community experienced national heartbreak in late October.

“This year, giving to others will take on special meaning (for) many of our volunteers, given recent events. Members of our community are eager to reciprocate the good deeds we experienced following the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh,” he continued in the press release.

Registration for Mitzvah Day, which will take place 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Dec. 25, is available at mitzvahdaydetroit2018.eventbrite.com through Dec. 20. Volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information, contact Sandi Lippitt at (248) 642-2649 or at slippitt@jfmd.org.