The best of Mitzvah Day: Vote for your award winners

Communities large and small in the running for prizes for social action


Social action projects from Cumbria to Rwanda are in contention for the Mitzvah Day awards, being run in partnership with the JC.

The Cumbrian scheme, nominated for outstanding Mitzvah Day 2018, saw residents and businesses in the village of Hawkshead come together to provide a day of fun and food for 160 Syrian refugees. The major US congregations in Mill Hill and Borehamwood and Elstree are also on the shortlist, along with the small Peterborough Liberal community, which cooked and distributed food for the homeless and others in need.

PLJC honorary secretary Janet Berkman said that for the 40-member community, "being nominated is a major achievement. This is evidence that even small groups can make a big difference through hard work and dedication."

In the 365 category for ongoing projects, Bushey Synagogue is among the nominations for "Bushey Gives Back", helping a variety of causes with activities from "frying in February to singing in September".

Also up for the award are Woodford Forest Synagogue's drop-in for asylum seekers, Alyth's Aleppo supper club and Stanmore Synagogue's Yad B'Yad programme. The list is completed by one of the country's smallest cheders, Harlow, which has forged a relationship with a homeless charity.

For interfaith activity, nominees include the "Chicken Soup Challenge" at East London Mosque, the collaboration between Muswell Hill Synagogue and Wightman Road Mosque, Caritas Westminster - which involved Jewish and Catholic schools in charity collections - and the Friendship Circle in Manchester.

Among those in line for the youth prize are LJY-Netzer, Akiva Primary, South Hampstead High and Henrietta Barnett School, where pupils were involved in activities supporting the Gift charity, the Marie Curie Hospice in Hampstead and a food bank. 

Also nominated is Meir Levison, who marked his tenth birthday (and Mitzvah Day's tenth anniversary) by inviting 20 friends to join him at Jami's Borehamwood warehouse to engage in upcycling chairs and producing artwork for sale by the mental health charity.

Projects in Florida, Krakow, Barcelona, Australia and Rwanda are on the shortlist for the international award.

The prizes will be presented at a ceremony at London's JW3 centre next month. 

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