Friday, January 25, 2013

San Diego B'nai Mitzvah Students Doing Mitzvot

B’nai Mitzvah students in 6th through 8th grade across San Diego County are participating in the Federation’s Mitzvah Makers program and experiencing how they can make a difference in the lives of others and become compassionate, dedicated Jewish adults. 

Created a year ago in collaboration with several local synagogues and rabbis, the Mitzvah Makers works with Bar and Bat Mitzvah students to find or create a mitzvah (“good deed” or “commandment”) project that fits the teen’s interest and connects that interest to the local and/or global Jewish community. A colorful and easy-to-navigate website,, provides basic information, but more importantly, it celebrates each student’s project for the public to see and admire. The Mitzvah Makers site also provides unique URL links for each student to share his/her project experience with friends and families and collect tzedakah (“charity”) donations for the cause they have chosen.

The inaugural year’s Mitzvah Makers have created exciting and dynamic projects that have benefited a variety of populations and causes: Children and adults suffering from illness, at-risk youth, children with special needs, memorializing children who perished in the Holocaust, hunger, poverty, and a slew of others. Collectively, these students have raised over $23,000 from family and friends for causes and issues they are passionate about. The students experience tangible results of their hard work, commitment, and the Jewish value of tikkun olam (“healing the world”), and these projects have given the B’nai Mitzvah experience added value and meaning. Parents are thrilled that their teens are discovering new depth in the traditional Jewish ceremony marking adulthood, and they appreciate the support Federation has provided in taking the time to work with each student to help create and implement personally tailored projects. The Federation also hosts and provides technical support for the official website and online donation platform, creating a modern interface that teenagers and their peers are comfortable with.

The Jewish Federation hopes to build on this past year’s success and expand Mitzvah Makers. The Federation invites all area synagogues, students in 6th - 8th grade, and future B’nai Mitzvah students to join the Mitzvah Makers program. For teens and families, visit to learn more and get started on your project. If you are a local rabbi or synagogue representative and want to know how you and your congregation can participate, please contact Karen Grossman at (858) 876-7527 or email her at


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