A Day for Good Deeds

A dance course at YAD’s Mitzvah Day

Last month, the Tikun Olam Volunteers (TOV) division of both Federation CJA West Island, and YAD Montreal, hosted their annual Mitzvah Day events, running exciting activities to engage their respective communities in acts of Tikun Olam, while adding some Chanukah cheer for recently-arrived Jewish immigrants.

For YAD Montreal, a remarkable turnout of 580 people showed up at the Gelber Centre to enjoy a host of family-oriented activities, including face painting, dance classes, mom & baby yoga, and many more. It was a festive mood, yet one which never lost sight of its core message of giving and sharing at this time of year. To that effect, Mitzvah Day helped bring in over 600 toys to be distributed by Agence Ometz to children from recently arrived immigrant families, making their first Chanukah experience in the Montreal Jewish community a joyous one.

800+

People who attended the West Island and YAD Mitzvah Days

“It was an absolute delight to see hundreds of children fill their canvas bags, so that less fortunate children can reap the benefits of their Mitzvah. I think Mitzvah day should be a tradition, as teaching young kids the importance of performing a Mitzvah is invaluable,” remarked Elana Fogel, Co-Chair of the YAD event.

One week later, on December 2, members of the West Island Jewish community had their chance to perform a mitzvah as well. A packed house at Federation CJA’s West Island office saw families decorating Kiddush cups and challah covers, also to be donated to recently-arrived immigrants. The event featured a toy drive of its own and made a significant contribution to the overall tally.

In both cases, the community’s response was nothing short of spectacular. While the Montreal Jewish community has always been known for its generosity, not even the event organizers were prepared to receive and handle so many gifts. Certainly, a wonderful problem to have, and one which is a testament to the community’s ability to consistently go above and beyond the call to help those in need.

“In the end, Mitzvah Day was everything we hoped for it to be: the kids got the meaning of “mitzvah” through the activity; everyone enjoyed the activities; and people of every generation and different parts of the community came together as a united group”, Added event Co-Chair, Julie Kristof.

With over 18% of the Montreal Jewish community living below the poverty line, many of whom are recently-arrived immigrant families still struggling to make ends meet,  the annual Mitzvah Day events help ensure that families will have a brighter Chanukah.

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