British Jewry went green at the weekend as volunteers around the country donned the standard issue Mitzvah Day T-shirts and cleaned, collected, cooked, painted, entertained (and much more) for the benefit of others. What Laura Marks launched with a handful of London-based projects in 2005 has grown to an estimated 30,000 participants this year, with a further 5,000 people involved in overseas schemes.
Interfaith relations were also enhanced through an increasing number of joint activities, with leaflets distributed with the word “mitzvah” on one side and the Islamic equivalent, “sadaqa”, on the other.
Muslim Council of Great Britain assistant secretary general Ibrahim Mogra said: “Mitzvah Day demonstrated yet again how it has become a leading light in the UK and around the globe on how to strengthen bonds and create friendships across different faith groups.”
Elsewhere, involvement extended to more than 20 university campuses, 60 companies — including Facebook — and small Jewish communities such as Stevenage, Jersey, and Eastbourne.
“What Mitzvah Day does is opens doors,” Ms Marks reflected. “What I’ve always aimed for is that in the same way that words like ‘schmooze’, ‘chutzpah’ and ‘schlep’ have become a part of the English language, the word ‘mitzvah’ will too. It would be pretty wonderful.”