Mitzvah Project News: August 2012

Mazal Tov to Kulanu Youth Activists!

Congratulations to our Bar and Bat Mitzvah students David, Hayden and Emily on their great accomplishments!

These are just some of the many individual bar and bat mitzvah projects that Kulanu youth leaders have created to support isolated and emerging Jewish communities around the world - not to mention all the adults who share their special occasions (birthdays, weddings) with Kulanu. Click here to find out how to share your lifecycle event with Kulanu and connect with Jews across the globe!

Scroll down to see class Mitzvah Projects, too - we are thrilled that so many educators and students are committed to tzedekah through fun group activities!

David (CO): raised over $1800 for the Kulanu-Abayudaya Education Program, and sponsored the visit of Aaron Kintu Moses - principal of the Abayudaya elementary school in Uganda - to his congregation in Aspen, CO, as part of his Bar Mitzvah project. David became Bar Mitzvah on August 20, 2011. Check out his Personal Fundraising Page!

Hayden (NY): raised nearly $1400 for the Abayudaya School Nutrition Fund through his online Personal Fundraising Page (click here to see it) as his Bar Mitzvah project. Hayden became Bar Mitzvah on January 14, 2012.

Emily (NY): Emily collected lots of books, and with her grandmother Jeanne Bodin's help carefully decided which ones would be best for students in the Abayudaya community; Emily, her grandparents and Woodlands Community Synagogue donated the money to pay for shipping the books to Uganda. Jeanne Bodin (Emily's grandmother) had visited the Abayudaya twice before, and in January 2012 Jeanne took her daughter (Emily's mom) along with her on Kulanu's Mitzvah Trip to Uganda to deliver even more books that Emily selected for the Sarah Moskowitz Memorial Library in Mbale. The books were received with joy by the Abayudaya children and their families, and are a huge asset to the Kulanu-Abayudaya Library & Literacy Project.

image: Jeanne, Aaron and Librarian Reading New Book from Emily

Abayudaya librarian (L), Jeanne Bodin (M - Kulanu volunteer and Emily's grandmother), and Aaron Kintu Moses (R - principal of Abayudaya Elementary School) reading a new book to a Ugandan child. These books were collected and sent to Uganda from New York by Kulanu Mitzvah Project leader Emily!

Thanks for sharing your special day with "All of Us"!

In addition to individual projects, Kulanu has been working with several student groups across the country on different class Mitzvah Projects. See below to read more about the creative ways teachers and students are connecting with other Jews across the globe. Then click here for some great group tzedekah and education project ideas that you can organize yourself!

Want to start your own Mitzvah Project with your students, peers or as an individual? Check out the Mitzvah Projects section of the Kulanu web site for resources and ideas, and contact the Kulanu Mitzvah Project team to let us know how YOU want to take action!

Class Mitzvah Projects

Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation's "Mitzvah of the Month" Program (Old Westbury, NY): Students in Long Island, NY, painted wood dreidels and raised money to ship them to Uganda for the Abayudaya children to play with during Chanukah. Click here to see a photo album of the American students making the dreidels and the Ugandan students opening and playing with these lovely presents.

image: Jeanne, Aaron and Librarian Reading New Book from Emily

The package of dreidels, hand-painted by students at Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation in New York, along with Hanukkah cards and instructions for playing The Dreidel Game - plus lyrics to The Dreidel Song! These were sent to the Abayudaya Jewish community in Uganda.

Other mitzvah projects from OWHC students include collecting kippot for the Lemba community in Zimbabwe (which they have already shipped to Africa), creating hand-made challah covers (for El Salvador), and making Hebrew flash cards for another isolated and emerging Jewish community. Susan Berman, who organizes this Mitzvah of the Month Program for OWHC, was also honored as a recipient of the Humanitarian Award from Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation on March 14th, 2012. We are delighted to be working with such a dedicated individual!

Morristown Jewish Center (NJ) - Beit Yisrael's Handmade Books Project: Sixth-graders made their own books about being a Jewish kid in New Jersey as a way to connect with their peers in Uganda. Upon receiving and reading these books, the Abayudaya students took delight in creating their own books to give back to their new American friends. However, rather than ship the books back to the U.S., Kulanu volunteers took photos of each page of every book made by the Abayudaya students to show the sixth-graders in New Jersey, and agreed to keep the books in the year-old school library for the enjoyment of other Abayudaya children, community members and visitors. You can see the finished books, from New Jersey and Uganda, in this album on Kulanu's Phanfare account: "Handmade Books Mitzvah Project - January 2012"

The Beth Israel Religious School, Reconstructionist Beit Sefer and the Jewish Cultural Society School (Ann Arbor, MI): Kindergarten and first-grade students from the three schools made alef bet flashcards and Shabbat tablecloths as part of their "K'lal Yisrael" (All of Israel) project in January. These lovely gifts were donated to the emerging Jewish community of El Salvador. (www.kulanu.org/elsalvador)

Chizuk Amuno Congregation (Pikesville, MD): Raised money for the Abayudaya community of Uganda through sales of Abayudaya kippot as part of their shul's Torah writing project. Check out www.kulanuboutique.com for Judaica products that your group can purchase at bulk rates and re-sell as a fund-raiser!

Kehillat Jeshurun / Jewish Youth Connection (New York, NY): Rachel Ginsburg's Bar/Bat Mitzvah Class organized a "Mezuz-a-thon" to raise money to purchase mezuzot and kosher scrolls, and ship them to the Jewish community in El Salvador. Funds left over after purchasing the materials and shipping them to El Salvador will be donated to Kulanu's programs supporting this emerging Jewish community in Central America (see www.kulanu.org/elsalvador). Meet the Mezuz-a-thon team through this online photo album and their class Fundraising Page!

Temple Beth Abraham's 7th-grade Class and Hebrew High School (Tarrytown, NY): Students raised money through a hot chocolate and brownie sale and raffle, held between classes, to benefit the Abayudaya School Nutrition Program. What a "sweet" idea for a 30-minute fundraiser event!

Temple Beth El Salinas Religious School (Salinas, CA): This school's Mitzvah Project, led by Rabbi Marcy Delbick, benefits the Dora Bloch Fund, which provides meals to Abayudaya students residing in the girls dorm in Uganda. Check out their team's Fundraising Page - they are nearly half-way to their goal already!!