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Ahavas Achim to Hold Mitzvah Fair This Sunday

Congregation Ahavas Achim in Highland Park will host a Mitzvah Fair on Sunday, Sept. 10 from 2-6 p.m. This Elul, attendees will have the opportunity to experience mitzvot like never before with dozens of booths and mitzvah demonstrations suitable for all ages.

Rabbi Steven Miodownik of Ahavas Achim said, “I am so proud that our shul has created this very special event. It is the perfect way to enter the month of Tishrei, which is called ‘takifei b’mitzvos,’ strongest in mitzvos.”

Organizers of the event detect a lot of excitement from families to attend to learn and have a good time. The low admission price ($30 per family in advance, $40 at the door) was established to enable families to come. That price includes everything except food, shofar making and the Virtual Reality of the Beit Hamikdash, which have extra charges. But all other activities including the puppet shows, children’s arts and crafts, bounce castle, and everything else are included. There will be no shortage of activities; if anything, there is going to be too much for anyone to see in the one day event.

Planning for this distinctive event began at the beginning of May, when volunteers were recruited. Planning committee co-chair Alan Schilowitz noted that the rabbi and the dedicated men and women of the planning committee came up with the mitzvot to profile and selected the ones they felt were most likely to have an interesting “show and tell” when presented.

While there was no specific methodology, mitzvot that would have interesting presentation appeal were focused on. “The event is targeted to all ages from about 3 and up. There will be lots of children’s activities—Mommy and Me, two different puppet shows, shofar making, kids arts and crafts projects, Virtual Reality of the Beit Hamikdash, etc. The schedule will allow children to be busy for the entire time,” said Schilowitz.

Schilowitz is looking forward to seeing families learning together about many different mitzvot in a “hands-on” way, and added, “It’s the best way to learn. One of the amazing things will be the Tekhelet exhibit. Someone is coming from the Ptil Tekhelet organization and will demonstrate the entire process of making Tekhelet starting from the Chilazon snail to dying the wool. I don’t know where else in the U.S. you can see this entire process. Tekhelet will be offered for sale with a special Mitzvah Fair discount.”

“I think there is something for everyone and the ability to choose your own mitzvah adventure increases interest and investment! I can’t wait to see people of all ages coming and going among all the booths. It will be a truly multi-generational event,” said Miodownik, “No two people will experience the Mitzvah Fair the same way. You can visit the booths and engage in activities that are most interesting to you, making this a very unique educational event.”

The full schedule of events is listed on the event website to allow families to plan their afternoon most effectively. Some demonstrations will be held at specific times, while others are continuous. Families interested in the Virtual Reality of the Beit Hamikdash should register in advance to avoid being closed out.

Co-chair Ken Strassman noted, “I was gratified to work with the hard-working and creative committee of volunteers for this event. Our early planning sessions showed each of the members to be enthusiastic and thoughtful about all aspects of the program. The entire team has been—and continues to be—a pleasure to work with.”

Fun food concessions will be available to round out the day and make the afternoon complete. In addition to hotdogs and smoked barbeque specialties from KoSoCo, Rita’s Italian Ice, cotton candy and popcorn will be among the concessions.

The vast variety of mitzvot featured span the spectrum from those used daily to those used weekly, and some that are used only a few times per year. The mitzvot will be presented by a combination of talented members of the Ahavas Achim community as well as rabbis and other experts from outside the shul. Some of the mitzvot that will be featured and other activities include:

  • Make a Shofar and Learn How to Blow a Shofar
  • Tzitzit Tying
  • Tekhelet Demonstration
  • Separating Terumah and Maaser
  • Challah Making
  • Meet the Shochet
  • How to Check Vegetables for Bugs
  • Shatnez Checking
  • Meet the Sofer
  • Make a Honey Dish
  • New Fruit Shuk—get a new fruit for Rosh Hashanah
  • Bracha Booth
  • Moon Bounce
  • Chesed Opportunities
  • Food Pantry Collection
  • Puppet Show
  • Mitzvah Scavenger Hunt
  • Pre-Rosh Hashanah Crafts
  • Tour an Ambulance
  • Mommy and Me Program

Special early bird and family pricing is in effect. For additional information or sponsorship details email: [email protected]. To view the full schedule of events and to purchase tickets, visit: files.constantcontact.com/7822e8cc601/84668515-944a-4f78-9408-56a48e4c8719.pdf.

Deborah Melman is a staff writer at The Jewish Link.

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