Mitzvah Day is an annual day of social action led by the Jewish community where volunteer work is done together with people from other faiths. According to Wikipedia, in Britain it started in 2005 when it was introduced there by Laura Marks, who got the idea from the synagogue she attended when she lived in the United States for several years.
For the 2018 London event which was held just this past Sunday, it was held at East London Mosque, where volunteers from Muslim Aid and Stoke Newington Shul cooked 1,000 bowls of chicken soup for the homeless. It is through this particular story on the BBC website that I came across the event. Around the world, 40,000 volunteers undertake similar or other activities to help those in need.
On the Mitzvah Day website, I also learned about its sister initiative, the Muslim-led Sadaqa Day which takes place in March. Sadaqa Day was formed in 2015 and provides another opportunity for volunteers from different faiths to get together for volunteer work.
I was very surprised that such beautiful collaborations exist, and was just as surprised that I got a little teary reading about it, haha.
It’s just that there is so much negative news when it comes to interfaith relations, especially between Muslims and Jews. Of course the various issues involved are very complex and have been so for ages, but that’s even more reason to celebrate, or at least not neglect, the similarities in values we share.
Because, really, the assholes seeking to divide us with hatred and enmity are really such a tiny minority, whether they are terrorists, politicians inciting fear and hatred to win elections, racist people with a chip on the shoulder inciting even more fear and hatred on forum boards online and elsewhere, etc. We have to remember that people in general, the great majority of us from whatever race, religion and nationality, are good, honest folks, who just want to get on with our lives, earning a living for ourselves and/or our families, and who just have no time or inclination for any racist or religion-bashing shit. That’s what I believe.
- The Guardian – 18 November 2018 – Mitzvah Day: Jews and Muslims come together to cook chicken soup
- Mitzvah Day – Jews and Muslims unite again for Sadaqa Day
- The following video is from last year, featuring the event in Detroit in the United States.