You’ve set the date. Your child is working on their Torah portion. You’ve called the caterer. But hang on: There’s still something important left to do before a bar or bat mitzvah.
Many synagogues ask their b’nai mitzvah students to participate in a community service project that is meaningful to them, as a personalized way of reinforcing lessons about communal responsibility and tzedakah. That often leaves parents wondering: How do I help my child find a meaningful bar or bat mitzvah project?
When choosing a project, start with something your child is passionate about, or naturally gravitates toward. Then take a look at our Jewish Federation’s community volunteer resource guide, where each mitzvah opportunity can be turned into a rewarding bar or bat mitzvah project. For example, is your child is interested in:
Feeding the hungry? Take shifts at our Mitzvah Food Program’s five pantry locations; pack food with the Jewish Relief Agency.
Helping older adults? Be a big help doing small chores through the Northeast NORC or pay a friendly visit to the residents of Abramson Center for Jewish Life.
Supporting people with disabilities? Make new special needs friends through the kid-oriented Friendship Circle; pitch in with art and cooking projects at JFCS Brodsky Center.
Social justice? Take action with Repair the World or bake to raise money and awareness with Challah for Hunger.
Preserving Jewish legacy? Help maintain our historic Jewish cemeteries with a cleanup day or arrange to meet an actual Holocaust survivor and keep their stories alive.
To browse our full list of volunteer opportunities near you, visit
jewishphilly.org/volunteer. And mazel tov!
Jewish Philly Podcast Episode 23: Roberta Kaplan and Amy Spitalnick
It’s January 2020 — a new decade. And we’re talking about all things civil rights, starting with a conversation about the recent Jewish Federation Civil Rights Mission in Georgia and Alabama, followed by a conversation about reporting Jewishly as a non-Jew with Jewish Exponent reporter Eric Schucht.
Our Jewish Gem this month is famed attorney and social justice activist Roberta Kaplan, who argued for marriage equality before the Supreme Court and founded the Times Up Legal Defense Fund. We had the incredibly opportunity to interview Kaplan, along with fellow guest Amy Spitalnick, to discuss their organization, Integrity First for America, and its work to take white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups involved in the Charlottesville rally to court.
The Jewish Philly podcast is available on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play and at Jewishphilly.org/podcast.