In a first for Mitzvah Day, an Israeli social group organised an activity, painting a mural on the back fence of Norwood’s Buckets and Spades Lodge in north London, which offers short breaks for children and young adults.The Israeli Salon members also organised games and other activities for the children.
World Zionist Organisation shaliach Nir Cohen founded the Salon group two years ago to bring together UK-based students and young professionals for discussions and Friday night dinners. It now has a membership of 400. He hopes the Mitzvah Day activity will be the start of greater engagement with the wider Jewish community.
“For us as average, secular Israelis, we don’t go to synagogue so don’t get close to the Jewish community,” Mr Cohen said.
“But so many people in the Salon actually want to get involved. Mitzvah Day is a great way to connect to others and give something back to the country that is hosting us.
“Giving back holds a lot of PR importance. People only hear about Israel in terms of war and conflict, so it’s really important to break those ideas.”