Mitzvah Day, bar mitzvah project enrich lives

Two mitzvah special events that took place through both Temple Beth Torah Sha’aray Tzedek in Tamarac and Temple Kol Ami in Plantation enriched the community.

TBTST had its first Mitzvah Day on March 1 that the congregation hopes will become an annual tradition. More than 500 volunteers came to the temple to do mitzvot with 13 different community service projects to benefit Broward based not for profit organizations.

“What is exciting is to see so many children, young adults and mature adults bonding together through hands on projects that benefit so many in our community,” said Jacqui Montag, who heads the TBTST Tikkun Olam (Hebrew for “taking care of the world”) committee for Mitzvah Day.

The projects for Mitzvah Day included the following activities:

ÔÇóCommunity blood drive for both whole blood and platelet donors;

ÔÇóSandwich assembly line for Broward Cooperative Feeding Service;

ÔÇóPre-school children writing greeting cards for American and Israeli soldiers;

ÔÇóSisterhood members gathering blankets to make robes for the elderly and hospitals;

ÔÇóDonations of clothing, electronics and luggage for Jewish Adoption and Foster Care Options (JAFCO) foster care teens;

ÔÇóGathering wish list items for The Humane Society;

ÔÇóTeens gathering cards and making get well cards for children at Ronald McDonald House;

ÔÇóMaking bouquets of donated flowers for ALF residents, among other projects.

The temple was transformed for five hours into work stations in which volunteers were sharing skills and team work into the creation of multiple mitzvah projects.

“The work we are doing today for the kids at Ronald McDonald is so important to me; it is more fun that anything else,” said Stacy Kanas, one of the teens in the project.

“The Mitzvah Day was an overwhelming success. To have our congregation come together to do service is putting our Judaic principles at work. There was such joy and satisfaction that bonded so many generations together to enrich our community,” said Rabbi Michael Gold of TBTST.

Another mitzvah project to raise funds for the Israel Tennis & Education Centers was successful due to the efforts of 13-year-old Max Chalik of Plantation, who came up with a novel plan for his bar mitzvah project at Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El.

Chalik not only raised funds for a worthy non-profit organization, but participated with his donors as well. He organized a round- robin tennis match involving four of the Israeli children in the ITEC program with four TKAE teens, including himself, while collecting donations from spectators watching the match.

“I never organized anything this big in my life. It’s a great sense of accomplishment and reminds me that no matter how big or small the mitzvah is, I am making a difference,” said Chalik.

The role of the ITEC is not only to develop professional tennis players from Israel such as Shahar Peer and Dudi Sela, but to create multicultural programs through tennis bringing Arab, Bedouin, Druze and Jewish children together.

Chalik is a gifted tennis player whose goal is to be a professional. He has competed at many local tournaments and is looking forward to participating in the prestigious Orange Bowl tennis tournament later this year. Chalik was a ball boy at the Israeli Davis Cup matches that took place last September and will be again at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne later this month.

To learn more about TBTST, 5700 NW 94 Ave. in Tamarac, call 954-721-7660 or go to https://www.tbtst.org

To learn more about TKAE, 8200 Peters Road in Plantation, call 954-472-1988 or go to https://www.tkae.org

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