July 24, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Transforming the Art Of Doing a Mitzvah

(Courtesy of JFNNJ) When the pandemic forced all in-person gatherings in our community to end, Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey had to reimagine its hallmark community event called Mitzvah Day. Traditionally, Mitzvah Day provides hands-on projects for families to do at Federation offices in Paramus. “The needs in our community are only growing, so we knew we had to figure out a way to make this event happen,” said Lauri Ann Weinstein, who has co-chaired Mitzvah Day for more than a decade.

Federation recently executed their Supplies for Success backpack program with great success, so this became the benchmark for building a new model for Mitzvah Day. “For 2020, we can’t and won’t let this pandemic stop us from providing necessary services to the broader community,” said Tracy Limbardo, co-chair. “The needs are growing every day and this is no time to even consider ‘canceling’ Mitzvah Day.”

After a lot of brainstorming, Mitzvah Day on the Move was born—a safe, healthy way of providing mitzvah opportunities for families and their trusted friends in their own home. It’s called a “Mitzvah Pop-Up.” Penny Samuels, Mitzvah Day co-chair, was thrilled when this model was developed. “People are home, people want to help. Mitzvah Day on the Move gives them the opportunity to ‘do good and feel good’ despite the obstacles of the pandemic.”

According to Jason Shames, Federation CEO, “We are thrilled with the response from the community. There will be over 70 ‘mitzvah pop-ups’ all over the community in people’s homes and thousands of projects will be distributed to seniors, men and women in shelters, hospitalized patients and frontline workers. This is what Federation does and the pandemic isn’t going to stop us.”

Interestingly enough, Mitzvah Day on the Move evolved as a stopgap to the pandemic but is likely to have a more permanent role in how volunteer programs are executed in the future.

Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey thrives on building community. Our mission is simple. We create a stronger, more vibrant Jewish experience in northern New Jersey, Israel and around the world, wherever Jews live. We focus on the future, help those in need and work hard to ensure our community continues to prosper.


For more information on Mitzvah Day on the Move, please visit www.jfnnj.org/mitzvah  or email Shara Nadler at [email protected].

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