Mega Mitzvah Month at Kehillat Israel

What You Do Matters!

“If you do acts of loving kindness for another,
it is accounted to you as if you built the world.”

-Yehiel ben Yekutiel

For well over a decade, every year hundreds of families take part in Mega Mitzvah Day (part of Mega Mitzvah Month) as the KI community comes together to heal the world, one mitzvah at a time. In 2011 upwards of 400 people gathered at KI on for Mega Mitzvah Day on Sunday May 15, to work on twelve different projects. In addition, a half-dozen other projects took place offsite throughout the day, and over 100 additional congregants were involved in those projects as well.

KI volunteers made over 1000 sack lunches and 2000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They made dessert baskets for local service workers, pot holders for women in Darfur, placemats, fleece blankets and get well cards for children in the hospital, caring cards for our soldiers in Afghanistan and for ill children, birthday cards for senior citizens, posters for the Palisades Library, flower boxes for senior centers, and even held a sing-a-long at senior homes. They helped at the Westside Food Bank Food Sort, served breakfast at Turning Point Transitional Housing, and made toys for the parrots at the Serenity Park Parrot Sanctuary at the VA in Westwood.

Through our wish list collection which included everything from books to professional clothing to bedding to food, KI collected massive amounts of goods which volunteers then delivered and distributed to dozens of agencies including:

  • Chrysalis
  • Dress for Success
  • Westside Food Bank
  • OPCC Access Center
  • Samoshel
  • Planet Aid
  • Beyond Shelter
  • Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA
  • KI Foster Care
  • Task Force
  • SOVA Food Pantry
  • Jewish World Watch
  • Turning PointTransitional Shelter
  • BookEnds
  • Pacific Palisades Public Library
  • Serenity Park Parrot Sanctuary at the VA
  • Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • The Village at Sherman Oaks Senior Home
  • The YWCA Emancipated Girls House
  • Standup for Kids
  • Operation Gratitude
  • New Directions
  • St. Joseph’s Family Center

In addition to our Mega Mitzvah Day Big Sunday projects, KI sponsors many other meaningful tikkun olam activities each year during the month of May, including our annual interfaith blood drive with St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, One on One Outreach grocery delivery, and building homes with Habitat for Humanity.

Don’t miss this awesome day of service for the entire family! Mega Mitzvah Day 2012 is Sunday May 6.

60 Things to Do to Heal the World

Poverty and Homelessness

  1. Join the KI Westside Shelter and Hunger Coalition Task Force (www.westsideshelter.org).
  2. Volunteer with KI’s Task Forces addressing poverty and homeless issues locally (Turning Point, One on One Outreach or the Westside Food Bank) www.kehillatisarel.org/tikkun-olam.
  3. Support our local food bank by contributing canned and packaged goods to the barrels at KI.
  4. Donate furniture and household goods to people getting back on their feet through Beyond Shelter (www.beyondshelter.org).
  5. Join the effort of The Giving Spirit to provide relief to homeless people over the holidays (www.thegivingspirit.org).
  6. Become a project coordinator for Big Sunday at KI.
  7. Support efforts to bring light, water, computers to rural areas (www.water.org).
  8. Visit www.freerice.com - good for the brain and good for the hungry.
  9. Support local service organizations benefitting the homeless, such as Common Ground (www.commonground.org), St. Joseph’s (www.stjosephctr.org), OPCC (www.opcc.net) and New Directions (www.ndvets.org).
  10. Volunteer to help homeless children and teenagers through Upward Bound House (www.upwardboundhouse.org), Westwood Transitional Village (www.salavationarmy.org) or Stand Up for Kids (www.standupforkids.org).

Energy and Environment

  1. Reduce, reuse and recycle, and choose to purchase recycled products.
  2. Join the K.I. Greening Committee.
  3. Plant some trees (www.americanforests.org/planttrees) and stop the junk mail (www.cataloguechoice.org).
  4. Replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
  5. Buy a hybrid, flex fuel or other energy saving car.
  6. Plan car trips efficiently, combine errands and when feasible, walk, bike or carpool.
  7. Be conscientious about water use – showers, washers, sprinklers, etc.
  8. Calculate your carbon footprint, reduce your energy use, and offset the remainder by investing in clean energy (www.carbonfund.org).
  9. Buy energy efficient appliances, rechargeable batteries and properly dispose of e-waste.
  10. Eat less meat and buy locally grown produce.

Education

  1. Volunteer at a local school or library.
  2. Support the educational programs of KI’s Foster Care Task Force.
  3. Become a Jewish Big Brother or Big Sister (www.jbbsla.org).
  4. Participate in a City Year Community Service Clean Up Day (www.cityyear.org).
  5. Volunteer to be a mentor through Communities in Schools (www.cislawest.org).
  6. Donate books through Bookends (www.bookends.org) and clothing for school kids through Operation School Bell (www.operationschoolbell.org).
  7. Contact legislative officials to advocate funding for universal education
  8. Become a tutor for a homeless child through School on Wheels (www.schoolonwheels.org).
  9. Help children learn in the developing world through One Laptop per Child (www.laptop.org).
  10. Become a KI Religious School Tikkun Olam representative.

Health and Global Development

  1. Support KI’s Jewish World Watch Task Force in its efforts to end genocide and provide refugee assistance (www.jewishworldwatch.org).
  2. Model a healthy lifestyle for your children: don’t smoke, get an annual physical, flu shots and stay up to date with inoculations.
  3. Give to microfinance programs to benefit entrepreneurs in developing countries (www.kiva.org or www.grameenfoundation.org).
  4. Support organizations offering humanitarian aid and emergency relief (UNICEF, Jewish World Service, Red Cross, International Medical Corps, Operation USA, etc.).
  5. Buy Fair Trade coffee, food products and gifts (www.globalgoodpartners.org, www.soulgems.org, and countless others).
  6. Donate to WHO/UNICEF’s oral rehydration packets (6 cents each) to alleviate illness and death among children.
  7. Educate yourself about AIDS, refugee issues, conflict free minerals and other complex world problems (www.unhcr.org).
  8. Support organizations providing free immunizations for children in high-risk areas.
  9. Help fund projects and individuals to build stronger communities in the developing world (www.planusa.org, www.heifer.org).
  10. Participate in the annual Pacific Palisades CROP Hunger Walk (www.churchworldservice.org).

Donations (non-monetary)

  1. Your blood, plasma or bone marrow to the Red Cross (www.redcrossblood.org) or a local hospital.
  2. Your hair to sick people who need it through Locks of Love (www.locksoflove.org).
  3. Your old, smelly sneakers to be repurposed as playgrounds (www.nikereuseashoe.com), or your golf clubs and equipment for the VA golf course (www.losangeles.va.gov).
  4. Your voice to create audio books to give free access to listening materials (www.librivox.org).
  5. Your old suits and business clothes to people trying to get back into the work force (www.chrysallis.com or www.dressforsuccess.org).
  6. Your wedding dress, to help women with metastatic breast cancer realize their dreams (www.makingmemroies.org).
  7. Your time or building materials to Habitat for Humanity (www.habitat.org).
  8. Your old carpet, blankets, leashes to animal shelters and your time to walk abandoned dogs (www.laanimalservices.com).
  9. Your old eyeglasses when you buy new ones or get a new prescription to the Lions Club or Lenscrafters.
  10. Your clothing or shoes or your kindness as a mentor for Para Los Ninos (www.paralosninos.org).

Personal

  1. Keep a tzedakah box by your front door and have the family drop in small change. Every six months donate the money to a charity.
  2. Show and tell people you love them – compassion follows understanding.
  3. Decide to be a better person: perform acts of kindness, don’t gossip, set an example.
  4. Write letters to political leaders about the things that concern you, as well as letters of appreciation to organizations making a positive impact.
  5. Wear a band on your wrist or lapel pin so people see your support for various charities.
  6. Don’t litter! Pick up trash you see on the ground, even if it isn’t yours.
  7. Return shopping carts to the appropriate corrals rather than leaving them in the parking lot or propped in a planter.
  8. Drive more slowly, no phoning or texting - cut the road rage.
  9. Support our troops, even if you don’t support our wars.
  10. Turn the other cheek!