How to Pick the Perfect Mitzvah Project | MitzvahMarket | MitzvahMarket

How to Pick the Perfect Mitzvah Project

How to Pick the Perfect Mitzvah Project

By Vered Ornstein

As we know, a bar or bat mitzvah is so much more than just an excuse to throw a lavish party (though that’s certainly a highlight!). It marks the age at which a Jewish child is old and mature enough to be recognized as a Jewish adult and take on all of the responsibilities that come with that status. “Bar mitzvah” and “bat mitzvah” translate to “the child of commandments,” referring to the set of laws that Jews are supposed to follow, such as charity work, social justice, and involvement in their community.

In preparation for the big day, bar and bat mitzvah students are often encouraged to take on a mitzvah project, utilizing their skills and interests to give back to the community and people in need. Mitzvah projects are important because they teach young adults how to take initiative, impart change, and apply Jewish values to their everyday lives.

How Do I Choose a Mitzvah Project?

Mitzvah projects can take many forms, such as fundraisers, awareness campaigns, volunteer work, or creation or donation of tangible goods. Some projects may only take a few weeks to complete, while others involve months of planning and execution. If you’re lost and don’t know where to start in picking a project, below are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

1. Set a timeline.

Whether you start planning your project a year in advance or a few months in advance will impact how large of a project you’re able to take on. If your project plans to be very hands-on, such as knitting blankets for the homeless shelter or committing to a certain number of volunteer hours, make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to complete the project fully. 

If you find that bar/bat mitzvah day is approaching and the project isn’t completed, don’t fret! The goal of a mitzvah project is for your teen to learn lasting lessons on tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tzedakah (charity work), and a good project will allow them to be involved even past their bar/bat mitzvah date.

2. Get personal.

The best mitzvah projects are the ones that mean the most to your teen, so it’s important to find a project that is meaningful to them and reflects their interests and values. Sit down with your teen and brainstorm- maybe they are passionate about animal rights, feeding the hungry, or environmentalism. Maybe a close family member or friend has been impacted by cancer or illness, or a local refugee family is in need of support. 

Encourage your teen to observe their community and find issues that need to be addressed. Cleaning up a local park or raising funds for an arts department or youth sports team are all small ways to make a huge impact.

3. Utilize your skills.

Once you’ve made a list of possible issues to address, it’s time to get tactical. If your teen loves to cook, organize a bake sale to raise funds for a cause. For artsy kids, handmade crafts could be donated to shelters or sold to friends and family for monetary donations. Getting sponsors for a race or organizing an intramural sports game is another way to funnel your teen’s passions into a social movement. No matter what your teen likes to do, there is a creative way to utilize it for good.

4. Involve the community.

While some mitzvah projects may not require many sets of hands, others will need lots of support in order to be successful. Remember, the goal of the mitzvah project is to introduce your teen to communal and collaborative charity work. Involving classmates, synagogue members, friends and family will not only make the project easier to take on, but more fun, too.

Feel free to involve an insert detailing the project with your bar/bat mitzvah invitations to help solicit funds and other involvement from those celebrating the big day with you. A call to action through social media, flyers, and word of mouth will ensure that your project gets the support it needs.

Posted in Mitzvah Advice, Mitzvah Ideas and tagged , , .

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