Tag: Christmas Day volunteering


Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee (JCRC/AJC) will mark its 25th Annual Mitzvah Day, which takes place on Christmas Day, by hosting it for the entire holiday weekend, beginning Friday, December 24 and ending Sunday, December 26. The traditionally daylong event is held in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

Called Mitzvah Weekend this year, volunteers of all ages and faiths, including Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Christian, will visit organizations throughout Detroit and its surrounding communities providing services to fill staff shortages or allow nonprofits to reduce staffing for the holiday.

“As the Christmas holiday takes place on a Saturday this year, we knew it would be beneficial to both the participating organizations and volunteers to expand the program’s length,” said Rabbi Asher Lopatin, executive director of Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee. “For the nonprofits offering opportunities, we have found that some are planning different or expanded activities since Christmas is not during the week. For our more observant volunteers who mark the Sabbath, this change will allow them to give back on Friday before sundown or the day after Christmas.”

Volunteer opportunities, which will include activities like serving meals and building clean-up, are slated to be available at organizations such as Brilliant Detroit, Pope Francis Center, Michigan Humane Society and Samaritas.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, JCRC/AJC will inform the public of available opportunities through weekly eblasts and social media postings, which will begin the week following Thanksgiving. These announcements will include a description of volunteer activities, a contact person at the organization and any mask or vaccination requirements. Those interested will then register and finalize details directly with the selected nonprofit.

Mitzvah Day, which is historically the single largest day of volunteering by Detroit’s Jewish community, was founded in 1996. The word “mitzvah” is Hebrew for “commandement,” and commonly refers to performing a good deed.

“While the pandemic has affected this beloved community tradition, we know that the spirit of giving is stronger than ever. We hope people of all backgrounds, ages and faiths take advantage of this beautiful opportunity to come together, safely, to give to others,” added Rabbi Lopatin.

How to receive Mitzvah Weekend information: Option 1: Visit www.jcrcajc.org and add email to sign-up bar at bottom of the page; Option 2: Follow JCRC/AJC on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/JCRCAJC or Instagram at @jcrcajc.

For more information, contact Sandy Lippitt at slippitt@jfmd.org.

JCRC/AJC’s mission is to represent the metropolitan Detroit Jewish community, Israel and Jews throughout the world to the general community, and to establish collaborative relationships with other ethnic, racial, civic and religious groups. JCRC/AJC educates and advocates on important issues, seeking consensus with a commitment to Jewish values. For more information visit www.jcrcajc.org.

# # #

Annual Christmas Day Tradition Continues

November 14, 2018 –Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC (JCRC/AJC) will host its 22nd Annual Mitzvah Day this Christmas Day at nonprofit organizations throughout metropolitan Detroit. The word “mitzvah” is Hebrew for “commandment,” and commonly refers to performing a good deed. The daylong event is held in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

On Tuesday, December 25, nearly 1,000 volunteers of all ages will visit a growing list of nearly 40 locations to work shifts beginning as early as 6:30 a.m. and ending as late as 6:30 p.m. Activities available at these social service projects will range from meal and toy delivery to visiting with older adults and cleaning out storage closets. Volunteers have several weeks to pre-register for a specific site, such as Detroit Rescue Mission, Mariners Inn and Cass Community Social Services, as well as the VA Hospital, Michigan Humane Society, Jewish Community Center and Sanctum House, which are all new to Mitzvah Day this year.

Mitzvah Day, which is the single largest day of volunteering by Detroit’s Jewish community, was founded in 1996 by JCRC in order to fill staff shortages or to allow organizations to reduce staffing on Christmas Day. It has grown exponentially since then and now includes several interfaith sites, which are coordinated in partnership with the Michigan Muslim Community Council.

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

“This year, giving to others will take on a special meaning to 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.”

The 2018 co-chairs are JCRC/AJC Board Members Micki Grossman, Milt Neuman, Illana Stern and Ellen Yashinsky Chute.  

Site registration is available through December 20 at www.mitzvahdaydetroit2018.eventbrite.com. Volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, contact Naomi Levine at 248-642-2656 or nlevine@jfmd.org.