MITZVAH DAY NOVEMBER 1st - COMFORT DUFFLE BAGS FOR FOSTER KIDS

mitzvah picMitzvah Day November - when we make 400+ Comfort Duffle Bags for Kids going into Foster Care - is one of Or Ami’s biggest social action events. We assemble duffle bags filled with a stuff animal, a blanket, toiletries, custom pillow case with a hopeful message, a personalized card and school supplies. Foster kids are kids just like you, but who can’t live at home with their moms or dads anymore because sometimes moms and dads have really big problems and can’t take care of their kids.

View Event Flyer | Previous Mitzvah Days 

Volunteers are needed on Saturday, October 31st at 10am until approximately 2:30pm to help prepare the synagogue for the assembly day, to sort through thousands of items, organizing stations around the synagogue to create an assembly line where 400 “comfort bags” can be put together by dozens and dozens of helpers. On Sunday, November 1st, beginning at 10 am, volunteers assist by running a station (e.g., school supplies, toiletries, books) where congregants will choose from items for a specific age/gender child. After the event volunteers help return the synagogue to its original state.

Volunteer Now

Individual and business sponsors are needed to support our social action projects. Your sponsorship underwrites the important efforts necessary to create Mitzvah work like this carnival.

Sponsorship Categories | Sponsor Now


Mitzvah Day April, Social Action Carnival - Sunday, April 26

mitzvah-dayMitzvah Day April - a Carnival for at-risk youth - is one of Or Ami’s biggest social action events. Hundreds of community members gather to create a joyful atmosphere, bringing children from New Directions for Youth together with children from our community. Many of these kids have never before enjoyed a carnival. The smiles on their faces show the new sense of self-worth they feel. It lets them know that people do care.

View Event Flyer | Pictures of Previous Carnivals

Volunteers are needed run the booths and activities at the carnival, as well as to sponsor booths, food and attractions. Or Ami volunteer adults/families are matched with youth from NDY as they go thru the carnival so that personal relationships can begin to build.

Volunteer Now

Individual and business sponsors are needed to support our social action projects. Your sponsorship underwrites the important efforts necessary to create Mitzvah work like this carnival.

Sponsorship Information | Sponsor Now

New Directions for Youth, our partner organization, is a social service agency providing counseling, academic tutoring, recreation and mentorship to youth at-risk for substance abuse, gang affiliation, physical and/or sexual abuse, school failure, early pregnancy or juvenile delinquency.

Tikkun Olam (Social Action)

Women of the Wall

  • Fostering Hope +

    fosteringhopeFostering Hope Presentation: Panel will discuss ways we can assist foster youth

    Partner Outside Organization: Department of Children and Family Services

    Chair: Laurie Tragen-Boykoff Co-Chairs: Nina Treiman, Jessica Ambroz (DCFS)

    When: Thursday, March 16, 7:00 - 8:15pm

    Description: Have you wondered how to leave a hand print on a child’s heart? A unique panel of professionals will share the ways, large and small. Foster youth are in need of all of the things that our own children take for granted, books and music, guidance and warm/th. At Congregation Or Ami, we make thousands of comfort bags for children going into emergency foster care. Join us as we take the next steps.

    Family Friendly: No. Adults only. Childcare/Homework Club provided.

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  • Mitzvah Day, November: Comfort Bags for Foster Kids +

    Mitzvah Day 1Partner Outside Organization: New Directions for Youth

    Chair: Laurie Tragen-Boykoff

    Volunteer: Sign Up

    Website: Rabbi’s Blog

     

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  • Holiday Child Shopping Spree +

    shopping spreePartner Outside Organization: New Directions for Youth

    Chair: Lucille Goldin

    Website: Rabbi’s Blog

    Volunteer: Sign Up Genius Here

    When: Saturday, December 11th, 12:00PM - 2:00PM

    Sponsor a Child: Donate here

    Completion Date of Last Project: December 2015

    Description: Our Child Shopping Spree takes unprivileged kids from New Directions for Youth on a shopping spree at Kohl’s department store, allowing them to pick out new clothes. For some, this is the first time they do not get hand me downs or thrift store clothes. We provide a 0 shopping spree, delicious pizza lunch (donated by Stonefire Grill), dessert, and other gifts. Individual adults and families chaperone the at risk youth to pick out clothes and even a few personal gifts for a family member. Volunteers also help with check in, work the lunch court, organize the chaperones, and assist in the checkout line.

    Family Friendly: Yes

    Is It B’nai Mitzvah Project Worthy?: Mitzvah Projects require a minimum 10-hour commitment to a single project. Interested students should contact Event Chair and Mitzvah Project Coordinator several months in advance to determine whether some aspect of coordinating this event could serve as a Mitzvah Project. While definitely a wonderful Mitzvah, volunteering as a shopping host alone will not fulfill the Mitzvah Project requirements.

    Childspree2C Shopping SpreeChildspree2C Shopping Spree2C with cart

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  • Brandon’s Buddies: Befriending Children with Special Needs +

    Partner Outside Organization: K.E.N. ProjectBrandon27s Buddies

    Chair: TBD, in partnership with through Dina Kaplan

    Website: Brandon's Buddies

    When: Quarterly

    Date of Project: ongoing

    Description: Brandon's Buddies provides an opportunity for children with special needs to play and interact with typically able kids. Brandon's Buddies meets monthly at Gates Canyon Park (Brandon's Village). However, Or Ami sponsors the event four times a year. 

    Volunteers help with arts and crafts, face painting; games, and playing with all the kids.

    Family Friendly: Yes

    Is It B’nai Mitzvah Project Worthy?: 10-hour minimum commitment – requires advance planning, Event Chair oversight, and Mitzvah Project Coordinator approval. Interested students should coordinate with the Event Chair to plan, recruit volunteers, and lead a specific aspect of Brandon’s Buddies playdates.

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  • Chaverim: Developmentally Disabled Adults +

    Partner Outside Organization: Chaverim, a project of Jewish Family Service

    Chair: Rabbi Paul Kipnes Co-chair: Steve Keleman

    Website: www.jfsla.org/chav and www.chaverimjfsla.org

    When: ongoing

    Completion Date of Last Project: ongoing

    Description: Adults with developmental disabilities (ages 18 to 88) enjoy the JFS Chaverim social friendship program that keeps them connected to the Jewish community.  We offer fun-filled and structured secular activities, such as bowling, field trips and exercise programs, as well as Jewish activities like Shabbat dinners, Passover Seders and B’nai Mitzvah preparation. Volunteers design and deliver programs, accompany participants on day trips and other activities, and welcome Chaverim members to Shabbat services

    Family Friendly: Ages 18-adult

    Is It B’nai Mitzvah Project Worthy?: Mitzvah Projects require a minimum 10-hour “hands on” commitment to a single project. Interested students contact Program Coordinator Gerry Dicker to determine whether there is a need within the student’s project timeframe for coordination of a specific activity. As always, advanced planning and Mitzvah Project Coordinator approval are required.

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  • Feeding the Homeless +

    Partner Outside Organization: LSS Community Care Center of Ventura CountyFeed the Hungry

    Chair: Lenore Alexander

    Website: www.lsscommunitycare.org

    When: Monthly, 4th Sunday of each Month, April to November

    Completion Date of Date of Last Project: Ongoing

    Description: We feed a group of homeless people, once a month, as part of an interfaith religious coalition. Volunteer prepare and serve a dinner at St. Patrick’s Church in Thousand Oaks. 4-6 families volunteer to prepare and serve meals to approximately 50 people. Specific details including sample meal plans are available by contacting the Chair.

    Family Friendly: Yes

    Is It B’nai Mitzvah Project Worthy?: 10-hour minimum commitment requiring advanced planning – interested students should contact the Event Chair to secure a date several months in advance and secure approval from Or Ami’s Mitzvah Project Coordinator. Student assumes responsibility for recruiting volunteers for the day (family, friends, and/or classmates), cooking some of the food, ensuring the required amount of food will be delivered, and coordinating volunteers to serve and clean up.

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  • Fishing Trip with At Risk Children +

    Partner Outside Organization: New Directions for YouthFishing Trip with New Directions

    Chair: Randy Sharon Co-chair: Marty Waschitz

    Website: Rabbi’s Blog

    When: July

    Date of Project: 7/1/2014

    Description: At risk youth from New Directions for Youth enjoy a fishing trip sponsored by the Los Angeles Rod and Reel Club. We provide chaperones and lunch, as the children fish. Volunteers act help the children, some of whom are fishing for the first time. 

    Family Friendly: No, adults only.

    Is It B’nai Mitzvah Project Worthy?: No

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  • Green Bag Project: Helping Homeless People +

    Partner Outside Organization: Green Bag Project

    Chair: Victor Cohen

    Website: www.green-bag-project.org

    When: Winter-Spring

    Completion Date of Last Project: 4/30/14

    Description: We collect clothing, blankets, water and ready-to-eat food for people on skid row. Volunteers organize the donations and put them into green bags. Volunteers can help distribute the bags to the homeless people on skid row.

    Family Friendly: Yes, but better for older children and adults with an open mind for interacting with destitute people.

    Is It B’nai Mitzvah Project Worthy?: 10-hour minimum commitment – requires advance planning, Event Chair oversight, and Mitzvah Project Coordinator approval.

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  • Habitat for Humanity +

    Partner Outside Organization: Habitat for HumanityHabitat for Humanity 2

    Chair: Fred Gruber

    Website: www.habitat.org

    Completion Date of Last Project: TBD

    Description: Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical organization founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. Volunteers gather building materials, and where possible, help with the building of actual houses.

    Family Friendly: Need to be 16 years or older to participate (16-18 needs parent consent)

    Is It B’nai Mitzvah Project Worthy?: No, due to minimum age requirement for participation.

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  • Interfaith Dialogue +

    Partner Outside Organizations: Interfaith Council of Conejo Valley, with direct partnership with Islamic Center of Conejo Valley (ICCV)

    Chair: Kevin Palm

    Website: www.iccv.org

    When: ongoing

    Completion Date of Last Project: ongoing

    Description: An ongoing project of our outreach program to various other local faith organizations, we try to foster a dialogue of understanding by sharing our similarities and appreciating our differences. Sessions can include pulpit exchanges, adult learning opportunities, as well as joint social justice projects. Our intention is to partner a few times a year with various community service activities, including partnering for B'nai Mitzvah projects. Current partners include the Islamic Center of Conejo Valley (ICCV).

    Family Friendly: Yes, for families with kids 11 years or older.

    Is It B’nai Mitzvah Project Worthy?: 10-hour minimum commitment – requires advance planning, Event Chair oversight, and Mitzvah Project Coordinator approval. Interested students should contact the Event Chair to determine whether an event featuring an interfaith dialogue among middle school students is appropriate, then plan, advertise, recruit participants, and lead the event.

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  • Jill’s Coats for Kids +

    Partner Outside Organization: Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission Jill27s Coats for Kids

    Chair: Sabrina Stone Co-chair: Chelsea Stone

    Website: www.jillscoatsforkids.com

    When: December

    Completion Date of Last Project: 12/15/2013

    Description: We spread warmth and happiness by collecting and distributing coats to kids in need living in the San Fernando Valley. All second hand coats must be in great condition, and are washed and cleaned before being placed. Volunteers pick up coats from drop-off locations (at local schools, from people who call in donation offers, and at Or Ami), and wash all coats and then sort by age and gender before dropping them off at the distribution location. Volunteer adults (only) may also be present when children try on and select the coat of their choice.

    Family Friendly: Yes

    Is It B’nai Mitzvah Project Worthy?: 10-hour minimum commitment – requires advance planning, Event Chair oversight, and Mitzvah Project Coordinator approval.

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  • KIND Pro Bono Child Advocacy +

    Partner Outside Organization: Kids In Need of Defense (KIND)

    Chair: Allan Kassirer

    Website:  www.supportkind.org/en/

    When: ongoing

    Completion Date of Last Project: ongoing

    Description: The KIND Pro Bono advocacy program engages attorneys and Spanish speaking congregants to help children who have escaped from either abuse, harassment by drug related gangs, or were victims of crime in their native countries, and who have made the harrowing journey to the United States and been taken in to custody by the INS to gain legal status in the US. US law protects these children, and volunteers give minimal hours to help save these children.

    Family Friendly: No, need adults who are licensed attorneys and/or can speak fluent Spanish to help translate conversations into English.

    Is It B’nai Mitzvah Project Worthy?: No

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  • Mitzvah Day, April: Carnival for At Risk Kids and Or Ami Kids +

    Partner Outside Organization: New Directions for Youth (ndfy.org) Mitzvah Day Spring Carnival

    Chair: Laurie Traygen-Boykoff Co-chairs: Debbie Husch, Danielle Walsmith 

    Website: none

    Pictures: Check them out on Facebook

    When: Spring

    Completion Date of Last Project: 4/19/2014

    Description: Mitzvah Day April is a carnival hosted by Or Ami for at risk youth of New Directions for Youth, a social service agency providing counseling, academic tutoring, recreation and mentorship to youth at high risk of gang involvement. Volunteers are needed run the booths and activities at the carnival, as well as to sponsor booths, food and attractions. Or Ami volunteer adults/families are matched with youth from NDY as they go thru the carnival so that personal relationships can begin to build.

    Family Friendly: Yes

    Is It B’nai Mitzvah Project Worthy?: 10-hour minimum commitment – requires several months advance planning and approval by Event Chairs and Mitzvah Project Coordinator. Interested students should check with the Event Chairs about actual needs, such as providing advance planning and coordination of a specific booth or activity at the carnival.

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  • ReformCA +

    Partner Outside Organization: Reform CA (ndfy.org) Reform CA

    Chair: Rabbi Julia Weisz Co-chair: Rabbinic Intern Dusty Klass

    Website: www.rac.org/reformca/

    Pictures: Check them out on Facebook

    When: ongoing

    Completion Date of Last Project: ongoing

    Description: Reform CA is a joint campaign of California Reform Movement to act powerfully together for justice in our state. As a project of the all the social justice initiatives of the Reform Movement (the Peace and Justice Committee of the CCAR, the Religious Action Center, and the Just Congregations) we feel called to come together as a Movement to play a role in repairing the California dream. We join with one another to address systemic issues of injustice that hurt our families and our brothers and sisters across lines of race, class, and faith. Justice has been at the foundation of our Reform Jewish Movement since its inception. Acting together, we seek to build a California that is just, compassionate, thriving, and inspiring. Volunteers hold one-to-one and small group gatherings to discover what issues concern us a individuals and then group together to address commonalities.

    Family Friendly: No

    Is It B’nai Mitzvah Project Worthy?: 10-hour minimum commitment – requires several months advance planning and approval by Event Chair and Mitzvah Project Coordinator. Interested students should check with the Event Chairs about actual needs.

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  • Save a Child’s Heart +

    Partner Outside Organization: none

    Chair: Jack Mayer

    Website: www.saveachildsheartus.org

    When: ongoing

    Completion Date of Last Project: ongoing

    Description: Save a Child's Heart is a highly acclaimed Israeli international humanitarian medical project, located at the Wolfson Medical Center, a government hospital in Holon, Israel. Our mission is to save the lives of children from developing countries by performing heart surgery to correct congenital heart problems and deformities. Without this treatment all of these children would perish. Also we train pediatric heart surgeons and medical specialists to create medical teams to work in their own countries.  To date, we have saved more than 3300 children from 48 countries. More than half of the children who were treated successfully last year were from Gaza and the Palestinian Authority. SACH also operates a Children's Home in Holon where the children and guardians from various countries stay normally for 3 months for pre and post-operative care. The cost to save one child is only ,000 … much less than a 10th of what it would cost in the United States.

    Family Friendly: Yes

    Is It B’nai Mitzvah Project Worthy?: Mitzvah Projects require a minimum 10-hour “hands on” commitment to a single project. Any fundraising needs to be above and beyond the basic requirements. Interested students should contact the Event Chair to discuss an advocacy or awareness-raising campaign involving outreach to schools, scouts, or other outside community organizations. Mitzvah Project Coordinator approval required.

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  • Shoes That Fit +

    Partner Outside Organization: Canoga Park Elementary School

    Chair: Lisa Gordon

    Website: none

    When: November

    Completion Date of Last Project: 11/15/2013

    Description: Individuals and families choose one or more students from a local elementary school and, using shoe size provided, provide new athletic/running shoes to children in need. 

    Family Friendly: The program can be family friendly as a project for organizing and checking to make sure the correct shoe sizes were purchased, but an adult needs to organize everything else.

    Is It B’nai Mitzvah Project Worthy?: 10-hour minimum commitment – requires advance planning, Event Chair oversight, and Mitzvah Project Coordinator approval.

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  • Walk to End Genocide +

    Partner Outside Organization: Jewish World Watch Walk to End Genocide 2014

    Chair: TBD

    Website: walktoendgenocide.org

    When: April

    Completion Date of Last Project: 4/27/2014

    Description: Thousands of people come to walk together at the Jewish World Watch Walk To End Genocide. We march to let our local community and the world know that we will not stand idly by while human rights violations, violence, and genocide continue to impact the lives of innocent men, women and children. Participants walk for the cause, visit the Awareness Fair before and after the Walk, gather information at the advocacy booths on human rights abuses in Darfur, Sudan, Congo and elsewhere, participate in advocacy actions for the conflict minerals campaign, watch solar cooker demonstrations, make crafts, and listen to great music. The Walk evidences how our actions can change lives. It's not just a Walk- it's a Celebration of our community of conscience!

    Family Friendly: Yes, this program is geared towards families more than individuals.

    Is It B’nai Mitzvah Project Worthy?: Mitzvah Projects require a minimum 10-hour commitment to a single project. Interested students should contact Event Chair and Mitzvah Project Coordinator several months in advance to determine whether some aspect of coordinating this event could serve as a Mitzvah Project. While definitely a wonderful Mitzvah, participating in the Walk to End Genocide alone will not fulfill the Mitzvah Project requirements. Interested students could potentially coordinate with the Event Chair and/or Jewish World Watch to raise awareness and recruit participants for The Walk To End Genocide.

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Brandon's Buddies

The able-bodied youth of our synagogue join with children who have special needs for a fun day of playing, snacking and doing arts/crafts at a local park designed for Special Needs Kids. It is an opportunity to dispel myths about the “disabled” and to discover the unique ability that each of us possesses. Please join us. Contact Helayne Sharon.

Designed by Shane’s Inspiration, a non-profit organization that designs and builds universally accessible playgrounds, Brandon’s Village features playground equipment is over 70% independently playable for children with disabilities and also provides meaningful and stimulating play opportunities for able-bodied children.

For information on Brandon's Village, click here.  

Subcategories

Social Justice

Mark all Social Justice Programs with this category for the RocSprocket to pull into the Social Action page

 
 

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Toolbox

Blessing the Torah (for your Aliyah)Torah Blessings (in Hebrew, English and transliteration)

Listen to the blessings and practice:

Before (slow), Before (normal speed), After (slow), After (normal speed)

Watch how the blessings are done (YouTube video)

Mitzvah Project Planning Tools:

Introduction to the MP process
Mitzvah Project Planning Guide 
Mitzvah Project Resources
Mitzvah Project Share Form

Questions? Contact Project Coordinator Cathy Rutkin

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Handbook: 

Everything you need to know
Tikkun Olam (Social Justice)