by Beverly Perkins | Our City Our Hollywood
Tikkun Olam is a Jewish concept which deﬁnes acts of kindness performed to perfect or repair the world, and to assist those who may be at a disadvantage. Although Temple Solel in Hollywood always has ongoing projects to help others, they declared a speciﬁc day eleven years ago to gather congregants of all ages to fulﬁll the action of mitzvoh (performing good deeds).
Since its inception, “Mitzvah Day” has accomplished numerous charitable efforts at the synagogue, in the community, and around the world. These projects have included landscaping, painting, organizing, and cleaning. They also collected, sorted, and donated clothing and household items to those in need, made bag lunches for the local homeless shelter, as well as shelach manot (gifts of food and drink) baskets for seniors.
Additionally, they have raised awareness and funds for Jewish and secular causes that needed funding such as Neve Michael Children’s Village, a home for abused and neglected children in Israel and Magen David Adom, Israel’s afﬁliate to the Red Cross. They also contributed to purchasing Lifestraws. These tiny water ﬁlter straws purify drinking water in parts of the world where there is no potable water.
At the helm of all the wonderful projects is Stephanie Jofe. She has been organizing “Mitzvah Day” from the very beginning. Six years ago, she knew it was time to take their “show” on the road and help organizations in the community with larger needs than their own. Since Rabbi Emeritus, Robert Frazen, Temple Solel has had a long-standing relationship with the Liberia community in Hollywood, they decided to begin there.
From refurbished playgrounds and reorganizing food pantries to installing butterﬂy gardens, and wheelchair friendly gardening beds, there seems to be no task this committee can’t handle. This year in conjunction with Temple Solel’s “Go Green” efforts, “Mitzvah Day” was held at TY Park. Approximately 200 volunteers came out and painted murals, a fence, and a building, assembled picnic tables with benches, landscaped, and planted orchids in trees as part of Fairchild Tropical Garden’s Million Orchid Project. They also ﬁlled backpacks with cards, friendship bracelets and donated toiletries for homeless children at the Broward Outreach Center (BOC), and collected and sorted 17 large bags of donated clothing, also for BOC.
“Mitzvah Day has really grown over the years from a small effort to help our synagogue to a much larger effort to apply our Jewish values of tzedakah and mitzvot to help our larger community,” says Jofe, Co-Tikkun Olam Committee Chair. “We are currently looking for a project for next year, so community organizations in need of a facelift should contact us for further information.”