B'nai Mitzvah Projects
Mitzvah Project Ideas
Synagogues commonly expect b’nai mitzvah students to participate in a mitzvah project. They help teach students, through experiential learning, the importance of volunteerism and giving back instead of always getting.
What should I do for a mitzvah project?
If you need help, the following pages will hopefully give you some ideas. They are broken down into three general sections:
- Donate time. There are plenty of community organizations, including your own synagogue, which would gladly accept your volunteer help.
- Donate items. Many organizations need donations of clothing, food and supplies.
- Donate money. Charities and organizations operate on the generosity of others and fundraisers, and could always use monetary contributions.
Volunteer your time at local organizations.
- Retirement homes/senior centers (visit, play a musical instrument, sing, act, decorate, serve meals, help with craft projects). Usually residents in a retirement or nursing home love to have attention from others, and they really like to see young people.
- Brookdale Hawthorn Lakes (across from Or Shalom) ~ 847-367-2516
- The Park (Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills) ~ 847-793-2470
- Most villages have a senior center. Contact your village hall.
- Become a helping ‘buddy’ for an individual with special needs in groups such as soccer/baseball/theater.
- Make voice recordings of books to be used by blind individuals.
- Friedman Place (Chicago) ~ 773-989-9800
- Kagan Home for the Blind (Chicago) ~ 773-478-7040
- Assist in outdoor projects needed at local forest preserve district, park district, department of natural resources. Make it a fun group event and include your friends.
- clean up trash
- remove certain unwanted vegetation from designated areas.
- plant flowers, weed flower beds
- refresh paint
- Perform some much needed projects at Or Shalom. Talk to Ms. Freier or Mrs. Cohen about this!
- Help out with Or Shalom’s Mitzvah Garden! The Mitzvah Garden sends its crops to local food pantries. Contact John Katz-Mariani at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Assist at a local animal shelter, or conduct a drive for placing homeless pets. Many animal shelters have youth volunteer programs. They could also assist with a placement drive.
- Help organize pantries and warehouses of “family assistance” organizations. Chicago Chesed Fund welcomes b’nai mitzvah families to come and help out.
- Pack and deliver food for the homebound.
- Glenview ~ 847-724-6210
- Palatine ~ 847-776-7261
- Donate long hair to organizations such as Locks of Love. Some hair salons will cut your hair for free if they then package and send in the hair contribution.
- Bimah baskets and party centerpieces:
- Donate flowers to shelters, hospitals or other local groups where flowers would make them much happier.
- Make party centerpieces of items to be donated to a group or organization:
- Make a centerpiece out of books and donate them to organizations such as Bernie’s Book Bank.
- Use baskets with cans of food for donation
- Arrange gloves, hats and mittens into centerpieces to look like flowers, and then donate them.
- Collect and donate needed items to:
- Collect and donate:
- Books and magazines for hospital waiting rooms, nursing homes or for people in need.
- Wearable shoes to Soles4Souls
- Coats and hats to shelters for homeless, abused women/children
- Pet supplies to animal shelters
Any local or large charity would gladly accept monetary donations. Or Shalom has many temple funds which help bring programs or defray costs. A list and description of these funds can be found on the temple website.
- The Kid's Guide to Service Projects by Barbara A. Lewis
- Heroes and Miracle Workers by Danny Siegel
- 116 Practical Mitzvah Suggestions by Danny Siegel. A free PDF book download is available here.