By Maxine Betteridge-Moes –
The Jewish Federation of Ottawa will host its ninth annual Mitzvah Day on Sunday, Feb. 8 to raise money for local charities and give back to the community.
Mitzvah Day will be held at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre and the day begins with a free breakfast at 9 a.m. followed by the opening ceremonies at 9:30 a.m.
The event is an opportunity for members of Ottawa’s Jewish community to come together and perform mitzvot, or good deeds, in the spirit of charity and kindness. The Federation says the event is a fun-filled day of activities for the whole family. Activities will include making sandwiches for the homeless at the Ottawa Mission, preparing and serving meals at Shepherds of Good Hope, and braiding challah bread for the Kosher Food Bank. Participants can also prepare “warmth packages” of gently used hats, gloves and scarves to distribute to the city’s homeless through Jewish Family Services.
More than 600 people participated in Mitzvah Day last year and organizers hope to draw another big crowd with a wide range of activities. Last year’s ‘extreme football challenge’ will be repeated this year to raise money for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada. A new event will be a dance-a-thon workshop run by the Capital City Dance Team as well as an activity to create care packages for Canadian troops serving overseas.
Tamara Scarowsky, a committee member from the Kitchissippi area, says she is very excited to be involved with the planning of the event this year. Scarowsky volunteered with her husband last year but she said she is especially looking forward to spending some time at a challah baking activity.
“We hope the event will both inspire people to do mitzvot throughout the year and to educate our own community about the emphasis our tradition puts on giving back,” says Scarowsky.
She adds that her two young children are also excited to make crafts to decorate the rooms of residents of the Hillel Lodge, a long-term care facility on the Jewish Community Campus.
Mitzvah Day is being sponsored by the accounting firm Ginsberg, Gluzman, Fage & Levitz, LLP for the sixth consecutive year. “We’ve always felt that part of our responsibility as accountants is to give back to the community, and what better way to do that than by doing good deeds?” says Jeffrey Miller, a partner at the firm. Miller says he wants to encourage more involvement, and would love to see Mitzvah Day grow into a citywide event.
Donations of canned fish, canola and olive oil, jam, nut butters and toiletries will be accepted for the Kosher Food Bank, as well as new toys for the Make a Wish Foundation and dish and laundry soap for the Ronald McDonald House. For a full list of activities and to register, visit mitzvahdayottawa.com or contact Rena Garshowitz at 613-798-4696, ext. 241.