Temple Har Shalom will observe Mitzvah Day
September 9, 2016
Each year, Temple Har Shalom practices a Mitzvah Day.
That's when members of the congregation volunteer at local nonprofits for a few hours, according to Jill Sheinberg, chairwoman of the Mitzvah Day program.
"Mitzvah means a gift or an honor and it comes from a Jewish mandate, Tikkun Olam, which means that we have some obligation to repair the world," Sheinberg told The Park Record. "There's a quote from a Rabbi that I like that says, 'You're not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.'
"I think that's cool and very true," Sheinberg said. "As a Jew, basically, you must do what you can to repair the world you're living in."
This year's Mitzvah Day will be Sunday, Sept. 11.
"That's a meaningful day and gives this year's event a special significance," Sheinberg said.
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The nonprofits the congregants will help are as follows:
Sheinberg's looking forward to the ones that Temple Har Shalom's Religious School kids will work on.
"On one, they'll help YSA to establish an orienteering project at Ecker Hill Middle School," she said. "YSA has instituted an after-school program there, after doing one at elementary schools, and these activities are offered to kids who don't necessarily have the funds to participate in those kinds of activities."
The Religious School students plan to create a trail map for Ecker Hill's program.
"They will do the actual mapping and run through the program to see if it actually works," Sheinberg said. "I like this project because it's both fun and helpful."
Another fun project takes place at the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter.
"We will send some families there to do some weeding on the Preserve," Sheinberg said. "Since the Preserve is so well run, everyone will have a fun experience, I'm sure."
The Habitat for Humanity project will be in Heber this year.
"We are also sending some people to help paint the exterior of a house," Sheinberg said. "They need this done before the weather changes."
The project for the Children's Justice Center will actually take place at Temple Har Shalom.
"We will make blankets for the kids who are there to be interviewed and questioned," Sheinberg said. "The blankets will be handed out to the kids so they can have some sort of comfort, because they have been through a hard experience."
The Nuzzles & CO. project is currently being put together.
"We don't know exactly what we're going to do, but that is a popular nonprofit, so we know something will be going on," Sheinberg said with a laugh. "In addition, one of our congregants who works really hard on our temple grounds is hoping to get some help for some gardening."
On top of the Summit and Wasatch county projects, Temple Har Shalom will send people to Salt Lake City to work with Image Reborn Foundation, a nonprofit that supports those who are suffering from breast cancer and those who have survived breast cancer.
Congregants will also work with the Utah Food Bank.
"We do this because Temple Har Shalom doesn't just serve Park City," Sheinberg explained.
The Image Reborn Foundation project will include creating centerpieces and auction items for a fundraiser, and volunteers will help stock the pantry at the Utah Food Bank.
"One thing we wanted to make sure we will do is help these nonprofits and not make more work for them," Sheinberg said. "It's important that we don't burden someone with our offering of help."
The day will start with a meeting at Temple Har Shalom at 8:30 a.m.
"Rabbi David Levinsky will give a short message and then everyone will leave for their projects," Sheinberg said.
They will all return to the Temple around 12:30 p.m. or 1 p.m.
Sheinberg said many people today feel that the social justice is the most important aspect of religion, and Mitzvah Day helps congregants help in that matter.
"Our world is in need of a lot of repair, and there is a movement going on," she said. "This Mitzvah Day is the first one where we are about to embark on something called Community of Practice through the Union for Reform Judaism. And the whole idea is moving justice to the center of the congregation.
"Mitzvah Day is there to remind us of Tikkun Olam but that's still just a small step," Sheinberg said. "So, we're hoping that this is just a beginning of a commitment that will go year around. There are so many opportunities to do things in this community. And we want the nonprofits that we are working with this year to know that we are here and are available to them 365 days a year."
Temple Har Shalom, 3700 Brookside Ct., will host Mitzvah Day on Sunday, Sept. 11. For more information, visit http://www.templeharshalomparkcity.org.
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