Tony Blair backs inclusive Mitzvah Day projects

Tony Blair has singled out Mitzvah Day as an example of “what faith is about: meaningful, tangible collective action”.

Mr Blair also applauds the efforts of Mitzvah Day organisers to “engage with those of other faiths”.

The day of good deeds on Sunday will see 15,000 people from across the community involved in 250 projects.

It coincides with the launch of the UK’s first national Interfaith Week, a cause dear to the heart of Mr Blair, whose own foundation encourages faiths to join together to promote respect and understanding and to tackle poverty.

“Today we are seeing more and more examples of interfaith work within the Jewish community,” Mr Blair acknow-ledged.

Mitzvah Day projects include one at the Kentish Town City Farm where leaders from the Jewish, Hindu, Christian and Muslim communities will be joining volunteers on repainting work and other improvements.

Reflecting an upsurge in support, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cambridge, Dublin, Edinburgh and Newcastle are among communities participating in Mitzvah Day for the first time.

In Bournemouth, volunteers will clear leaves and plant bulbs on a bare patch of land near Coy Pond to support the work of a local environmental group. In Cambridge, children and adults from the Beth Shalom Reform Synagogue, along with local university students, will be collecting nearly new clothes and goods for World Jewish Relief’s Gifts in Kind programme, which supports impoverished Jews in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Mitzvah Day founder and director Laura Marks said: “Mitzvah Day 2009 is set to be our biggest ever, touching far more communities than ever before, not just in major centres of Jewish population, but across the country.

“It’s great to see that wherever even a few Jews are gathered, they are ready to step up to the plate to do a good deed.”

Last updated: 4:52pm, November 12 2009