Why I Participate in Mitzvah Day by Jennifer Clark

Tikkun olam, the call to repair the world, is not only what drives me to click on the registration link and sign up for Mitzvah Day every year, but these words (and the sentiment and actions behind them) are an undercurrent of what connects me to the Jewish community in Charlotte and beyond.

The many (many!) Temple Beth El members who come out every year for Mitzvah Day tell me that I am not the only one who feels this way. The wide range of projects available reflect the diversity of interests and skills that we are nurturing within our TBE community. While I am sure we all practice tikkun olam on other days throughout the year and through other activities, having a day to gather and celebrate this foundational element of what makes us Jewish is a great opportunity to reflect on how we carry these actions forward throughout the rest of the year.

This year, Mitzvah Day will feature a project coordinated by Temple Beth El’s Community Organizing team – (Community Organizing, Ages 16+, New in 2019). For those who are familiar with the team’s work, you may know that our focus is repairing the world—starting with our local community in Charlotte—through racial justice. For those who have not had a chance to learn about the Community Organizing team’s efforts, this Mitzvah Day project would be a great way to find out more.

For the past two years, Temple Beth El has used the principles of community organizing to help engage our large and diverse congregation around a shared vision of how we can contribute to achieving racial justice in Charlotte. This Mitzvah Day project will provide an overview of how the community organizing model mobilizes large, diverse groups of people to tackle complex, systemic issues and will offer an opportunity for participants to put these principles into practice by writing letters on one of our target issues (affordable housing, criminal justice, and prek-12 education) to community and elected leaders.
Hope to see you on May 19! Registration is open now!

Jennifer Clark is Director of Communications at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a DC-based nonprofit. She spends her free time slowly reading books, awkwardly practicing hot yoga, and co-leading TBE’s Community Organizing team.