Unique Mitzvah Projects for Kids

Looking for something different to delve into for a community service project?  Most Jewish pre-teens who are about to reach their milestone in becoming a bar or bat mitzvah are confronted with the difficult task of selecting a meaningful endeavor to serve as their “mitzvah” project.  They become easily frustrated when trying to come up with an original idea to fulfill their obligation in performing a good deed.  Some popular opportunities that many families are already familiar with in the tri-state area are volunteering with a food bank, teaming up with a non-profit organization to do a walk or helping out at a senior retirement home. However, there are numerous experiences that b’nai mitzvahs can embrace.  They may simply be unaware of what’s out there to discover.

Two years ago, Valerie Franklin and Cheryl Friedenberg, two Jewish moms from the suburbs of Philadelphia, decided to launch The Mitzvah Bowl website when they realized that there was no central database in the tri-state area listing mitzvah projects. The site connects bar/bat mitzvah students to social action projects.

This one-of-a-kind website offers kids the chance to find the perfect match for a meaningful enriching experience.  Recently the website was revamped to make browsing easier.  Students are much more motivated to engage themselves if it’s something that interests them.

  • Enjoy dancing? Consider working with individuals in wheelchairs and guiding them as their dancing partner.
  • Do you get a thrill from shooting hoops?  Organize a basketball tournament with PeacePlayers International to help further peace in the Middle East.  
  • Want to feel empowered by feeding the hungry?  Arrange a food drive to send goods to Mazon, A Jewish Response to Hunger.  
  • Are you an avid reader and want to share your love of literacy?  Create a community-wide book drive for the African Library Project and help change children’s lives on another continent.

The Mitzvah Bowl lists well over 100 unique ideas to fulfill community service hours by getting involved with a worthy cause.

More after the jump.
Raquel Dunoff, a 7th grader from Plymouth Meeting, PA organized a clothesline art sale to benefit Fresh Artists.  This non-profit organization provides art programs and supplies to inner city schools, which have cut their art budgets dramatically.  Dunoff collected art and ceramics created by friends and arranged a sale at her township building.

Adolescents have the power, themselves, to play an active part in fixing the critical needs of our society. By offering them the chance to grab hold of a philanthropy that they feel passionate about, the connection becomes worthwhile and relevant.

The Mitzvah Bowl website provides a much needed resource for this community to assist these tweens and teens to find that perfect match.