Mitzvah Day Celebrated in Borehamwood & Bushey – 15 Nov 2020


Mitzvah Day volunteers at a food hub created by charity Gratitude. Credit: Valeria Fazekas

Faith leaders, schoolchildren, parents, a charity, a Jewish youth group and supportive members of the public came together in a display of unity at the weekend.

Mitzvah Day, a Jewish-led day of social action, was marked differently this year because of the pandemic.

But volunteers and guests were still able to carry out charitable and community-led activities on Sunday across Borehamwood and Bushey, with the theme of ‘Food Brings us Together’ and ‘Celebrating Diversity’.

As part of the day, a video was streamed live in which messages of peace and friendship were shared by faith leaders from Hertsmere’s Christian, Jewish, Hari Krishna and Muslim communities, together with the coordinators of Gratitude – a charity which supplies food and other goods to people in need.

The video also featured drawings from schoolchildren, at Yavneh Primary School and Yavneh College in Borehamwood, as well as welcoming the Muslim community to their new mosque in Maxwell Road, Borehamwood.

Over at Hartspring Lane Community Centre in Bushey, regular volunteers were joined by those from Jewish youth group FZY and Muslim community leaders to participate in a lively food distribution session, performing Mitzvot and good deeds for the wider community.

As part of the week’s activities, Gratitude also ran a kosher food bank at Yavneh College.

Organisers had planned for volunteers to help redecorate the new mosque premises, plant flowers in its garden and conduct a litter pick at neighbouring Maxwell Park to help the environment – but the lockdown regulations meant this was no longer possible.

Mitzvah Day project coordinator, Dr Dan Ozarow, said: “I would like to thank all of the children, organisations, faith leaders and volunteers who contributed to making this truly beautiful project such a success, especially at such short notice and under difficult conditions with lockdown and the pandemic.”

Rabbi Jeff Berger said: “As interfaith advisor for Mitzvah Day, I applaud the Borehamwood & Bushey project. Though we were restricted by lockdown from doing the outdoor planting and DIY originally intended, this community-building spirit gave us all a sense of inspiration and pride.”

The Imam of the Borehamwood Islamic Society said: “We are honoured here today to stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow brothers and sisters in humanity and we are humbled at being welcomed finally as part of the Borehamwood community.

“It is only through consideration, compassion and cohesion may a community truly flourish and which makes a nation stand apart.

“To work alongside our wider community with our multi-faith and non-faith leaders to make Borehamwood a better place for people from all walks of life.”