The 11th Annual Mitzvah Day Program on Sunday, April 22 brings 500 Rockland County teens together for a day of service and doing good deeds for others in need. The assortment of 24 activities organized by Cathie Izen of the Rockland JCC is the culmination of teen planning and leadership meetings that began in September.
Teens viewed DVDs and videos, which Izen requested from different charities, and chose those that “touched their hearts.” Izen, the parenting and teen director at the JCC Rockland, said many of the projects are locally oriented but some are national and international.
Mitzvah Day is designed to encourage Jewish service, community building and creation of connections across religious and societal lines. It occurs in conjunction with J-Serve, the National & Global Day of Service, to connect Rockland’s teens to other teens across the country and the world, to see what they can do to make a positive difference.
The local teens, who are middle to high school age, will help raise money for an upstate camp for children with terminal illnesses, a camp for children who have lost loved ones to terrorism and hold a dodge ball game to collect money for the Israeli Defense Forces. Izen said the teens will pack emergency nonperishable food in shoeboxes for Meals on Wheels to give to its clients in case a truck breaks or delivery cannot be made.
Another group will run a blood drive. A Bowl-A-Thon will raise money to purchase items for Camp Venture and visits to the elderly in several nursing homes will occur.
“We saw that kids wanted to give back to the community,” she said. “They wanted to help others. And Mitzvah Day was the perfect marriage of the two.”
She contacted all the clubs in the county’s high schools, synagogues and Hebrew schools to make them of the opportunity to earn community service hours while meeting other teens from throughout Rockland with similar interests.
Izen said some of the activities have been in the works for a while. Three game days have been organized for exceptional teens and young adults from Camp Venture, Rockland Family Services and Rockland Psychiatric Center and the final one takes place on the 22nd.
“We created a game day where the kids are going to play games with our Mitzvah makers,” she explained. “So they are the recipients of the mitzvah. Then they are going to make dog treats and they are going to perform a mitzvah.”
The events take place at the JCC in West Nyack and at locations in New City, Nanuet, Congers and across the county.
- IDF Dodge ball Tournament
- Camp Venture Bowl-A-Thon at New City Bowling
- Camp Koby Bowl-A-Thon at New City Bowling
- Emergence Food Box Assembly at JCC Rockland
- Make A Wish Walkathon Palisades Mall
- Play Date of Games & Cooking with 'Exceptional’ Young Adults at JCC Rockland
- Camp Simcha Basketball Tournament at JCC Rockland
- Basketball Special Olympics at St. Agatha’s
- Friendship Circle Chabad, Suffern Sponsored
- JEP Hudson Valley Animals at PetSmart, Nanuet
- Clarkstown South HS "Go the Distance" Walk at Westchester
- Medical Center
- Zumbathon at JCC Rockland
- Jamfest - Concert for the Cure
- Jake Talks
- Adina's Angels TBT Youth Group Sponsored
- Environmental Clean Up NCJC Sponsored
- Northern Manor
- Sunrise Assisted Living
- Blood Drive at Temple Beth El
- JEP at Friedwald Center
- Barbara Wiener Memorial Pergola & Garden
- United Hospice of Rockland 'Walk To Remember' Rockland Lake
- Blood Drive at JCC Rockland
- Helen Hayes Entertainers
Teen will perform their Mitzvot – good deeds – from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Lunch at the JCC will be followed by “mitzvapprentice,” based on the show “Celebrity Apprentice.” Save A Life, Acts of Living Kindness and Donations.
“The kids will go to the corner of the room that speaks to their heart,” said Izen, nothing those will ran the blood might go to Save A Life and the ones who organized the food drive may choose Acts of Loving Kindness. Each site has a box with directions for p sharing their experience.
“They will create a banner telling what they did, who they helped, how it made them feel and why other kids should do this,” she said.
Each group will select a spokesperson who will sell their banner’s message to a judge. Each participant will receive a gift donated by local businesses such as massages, books and gift cards.
Izen said registration is still open at www.tinyurl.com/7db4jfn.