Virtually a week on: Reflecting on a virtual Mitzvah Day

The name of the game this year is TO ADAPT, and that is exactly what Jewish students up and down the country have done. Mitzvah day is an annual day to do your Jewish duty and to give back to our community. Usually, this involves large groups of people coming together, close contact with people in need, and a helping hand for tasks or food collection. Obviously, in the midst of a pandemic and a national lockdown, these activities had to become strictly socially-distanced or virtual… and actioned fast. 

J-Socs from Cambridge to Manchester, Bristol to Durham did just that. Based in Cambridge, I was astounded by the way that the J-Soc adapted by creating a socially distanced food collection – allowing for collections at different times and days to stagger the flow of people. I was also lucky enough to attend Durham’s virtual event, where we wrote letters to residents in a Jewish care home! The use of a scanning app came in handy and allowed us to send in our letters to the care home (with even one coming from Paris by a student on her year abroad!).

I do want to emphasise, that the challenges faced with putting on these great events were nothing compared to the increased challenges facing those in need  during the pandemic. Covid-19 has put a massive strain on resources, the ability to connect, and the ability to look out for each other. It is so heart-warming to see Jewish students take to that challenge and provide for their communities despite these strains. For those with still more ability to give in them, I highly encourage you to join the Mitzvah Day team and to use the rest of November as Mitzvah Month and make sure those neediest and loneliest in our communities are cared for.

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About UJS

We are the voice of over 8,500 Jewish students, spanning 60 Jewish Societies (J-Socs) on campuses across the UK and Ireland. We are traditional, progressive, cultural and spiritual; we come from the left, centre and right and can be found across religious and political spectrums.

Together we create and deliver powerful campaigns; fighting prejudice, advancing inclusion, and inspiring education and action on the issues that matter to us. 

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