Annual Mitzvah Day a success
by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2012-11-19
Mitzvah Day 2012
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This year's annual Mitzvah Day, which took place over the weekend, has been hailed a huge success after bringing together over 25,000 volunteers from a range of faiths and backgrounds.
The day of good deeds saw three government ministers and several local MPs join the volunteers in projects which ranged from clearing scrubland and planting trees, to collecting clothes and food for the homeless and refugees.
Others taking part included volunteers from over 280 synagogues - including children as young as three who made cards and planted flowers for the elderly - as well as religious leaders from all faiths who put aside their differences in order to perform good deeds together.
And over 20 different countries also took part in the event, with volunteers in Australism Germany, Canada and Turkey among others.
The Rt Hon Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, was among those dignitaries taking part - and he later described the day as "terrific".
Speaking at Verulamium Park in St Albans Mr Pickles said, "Today thousands of volunteers of the Jewish faith, of all ages and backgrounds have given up their time to make a difference, to give back to our wider communities and help the less fortunate.
"This Jewish-led day of social action has been made extra special this year by the coming together with other faiths to share Mitzvah Day as part of A Year of Service, helping to build stronger communities for the future."
Laura Marks, Mitzvah Day Founder and Board of Deputies Senior Vice President, said: “Mitzvah Day allows us as Jews to reach out in friendship to other faith groups and to political leaders demonstrating the importance we attribute to social action. With around 30 MPs taking part, this is grass roots engagement in action.
"The day itself was fantastic and I hope that for many people their experiences will encourage them to get more involved in their local community and with local charities. A huge thank you to everyone to took part and supported us.
Next year's Mitzvah Day will take place on November 17 2013.