Last month, more than 25 families registered for the “Making Bar/Bat Mitzvahs More Meaningful” workshop, which gave them the chance to explore opportunities to incorporate community service into their b’nai mitzvah planning. The free workshop was held at the Park Ridge Marriott and was coordinated by the Volunteer Center at Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, tween programming at the JCC of Northern New Jersey, and Mitzvah Market, the largest online resource for families planning bar and bat mitzvahs.
“It is important to find something that you are passionate about,” Emma Goshin, who became a bat mitzvah at the Glen Rock Jewish Center, said. “Connecting the project to you is a key part of a bat or bar mitzvah. It represents something that you care about and that you want to fix in the world.”
Participants heard about charitable ideas for every aspect of their celebration, from invitations to décor and favors. The workshop highlighted many local Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Association for Developmental Disabilities and Bergen Reads, JFNNJ’s literacy program. Topics included philanthropic opportunities to support Israel, including Leket, Israel’s National Food Bank, and Jewish National Fund programs.
One participant said that after participating in the workshop, she will connect her mitzvah project to her Torah portion, which happens to be about food. That gives her many options to collect, donate, or volunteer to help people in need of food, both locally and in Israel.
For more information about choosing a mitzvah project or community service opportunity, call Beth Figman at (201) 820-3947 or email her at BethF@jfnnj.org.