Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community

Mitzvah Project Guidelines

Getting Started on Your Community Service Project

A mitzvah is a good deed, or a commandment (to do a good deed).  Since becoming bar or bat mitzvah means becoming a fully responsible member of the Jewish community, it makes sense to get your feet wet by going out into the community to do some mitzvot. There are lots of places to go for good ideas for a community service project:

  • Look around your neighborhood, school, or synagogue for thing that need doing – collecting pencils, organizing a neighborhood clean-up, raising money for school outings, tutoring kids after school.
  • Look around your community, city, or the world for problems, and come up with solutions.  Think: what do people need? Can you organize kids to visit sick children in a Children’s Hospital?  Can you collect toiletries for homeless people?
  • Read some of the great Bar/Bat Mitzvah books around that can help you formulate your ideas:
    • The Bar and Bat Mitzvah Mitzvah Book: A Practical Guide for Changing the World Through your Simcha, by Danny Siegel.
    • Putting God on Your Guest List: How to Claim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah, by Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin
    • Make Your Own Bar/Bat Mitzvah: A Personal Approach to Creating a Meaningful Rite of Passage by Rabbi Goldie Milgram
  • Go to Danny Siegel’s website and answer these questions:
    • What am I good at?
    • What do I like to do?
    • What needs fixing in the world?
    • Who do I know that could help out?
    • What can I do NOW?

Community Service Project – Report

Time to step back and take a look at how your community service project has gone.  Describe the project here, and answer some of these questions:

  • Was it harder or easier than you thought?
  • What surprised you about doing the project?
  • What parts were fun?  What parts were not?
  • Did you get any feedback from people you helped?
  • Did you fix the whole world?  Oops – wrong question! Don’t answer that
  • The right question: Did you get started trying to fix a corner of the world?

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