This page highlights the projects and details from the past two years of Mitzvah Mania programs. For current service offerings, click here, and for information about older service projects, contact Michael Strom at firstname.lastname@example.org
SUMMER 2017- PAST PROJECTS
68 Teen Participants, 10 Jewish Service Learning projects, One wonderful way to sum up the summer.
Jewish service learning events to match participants’ schedules: This program allows teens 12+ to engage in up to ten days of service projects with incorporated Jewish learning. Teens could sign up for as many or as few as they liked, but if they attended 3+ they become a Mitzvah Maniac! All events linked the service activity to deep discussions of Jewish history, contemporary culture and text, usually through the help of an interactive game/activity.
Diverse opportunities all across our community: Projects took place all over Greater MetroWest (Union, Essex, Morris, Northern Somerset or Sussex Counties) to make sure that there are convenient offerings for everyone. Service included hands-on environmental restoration projects, providing nutrition for families in need, creating emotional support items for children, and projects to preserve Jewish culture and tradition. The event offerings ranged from preparing and serving dinner to clients of Homeless Solutions in Morristown to picking produce at the community garden at JFS Central, to cleaning up and sorting books at the last active Synagogue in Newark. Throughout these projects, true inclusion and community empowerment was strongly promoted – residents of senior centers and residents of the WAE Center were invited to join the teens to perform service for the community together.
Largest number of repeat participants in Mitzvah Mania history: This year, 27 teens qualified as Mitzvah Maniacs for participating in 3+ service events. The following titles were awarded:
Mega Mitzvah Maniacs (4 events): Nate Jacobs and Jessie Kransdorf.
Mitzvah Maniacs (3 events):Lexie Fox, Rachel Horn, Elias Kishelev, Maya Pearl, Samantha Plichta-Kellar, Madeline Quinn, Sam Russo, Hannah Stepak, Adina Strong, Chase Turnof, Cole Turnof, Kyra Cooperman, Ally Landau, Ethan Landau, Rebecca Landau, Avianna Miller, Lee Rosenthal, and Ariel Shultz.
Teen Leadership: We have a number of dedicated teen leaders who assisted with all Mitzvah Mania projects. Members from the Iris Teen Mitzvot group helped lead at least 2 service events each, to prepare for Jewish service learning events they will be planning in the Spring. Additionally, the members of the JTEENGMW Justice League (who are committed to a year-long term of service committed to service, outreach, Jewish learning and teen leadership) helped run the events. All events were planned with the help of Zachary Kronheimer and Shayna Mandelbaum, teen summer interns at the Jewish Federation and Mitzvah Mania attendees.
Support from the Jewish Federation of GMW: All events were planned and orchestrated by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ through the JTEENGMW team. For more information about Mitzvah Mania and to learn about other Jewish Service Learning opportunities, visit www.jteengmw.org or contact Michael Strom, Coordinator of Jewish Service Learning, at email@example.com or 973-292-2963.
**Stay tuned for Spring Mitzvah Mania, from January- June 2018 : a large listing of hands-on Jewish service learning opportunities designed and run by our Iris Teen Mitzvot group**
To see complete program descriptions and to view photos taken at each event, open the PDF below!
SPRING 2017 - PAST PROJECTS With the help of the Justice League and Iris Teen Mitzvot, for the first time we have hosted a wide array of spring service offerings, which we have called Spring Mitzvah Mania. These events for 2017 started out strongly with a full capacity (20 teens) “In Her Shoes” domestic abuse educational simulation and support program run by Rachel Coalition on Martin Luther King Day (a school and Federation holiday). These were followed by teen support for the Jewish Federation’s Challah Bake on February 7, spreading cheer and delivering mishloach manot to residents of Lester Senior Housing with “Purim-On-The-Go” on March 12, teen participation in 14 service projects for J-SERVE 2017, and welcoming in spring by helping run Reeves Reed Arboretum’s family festival “Daffodil Day” on April 23. A planting day at the community garden of Jewish Family Service Central was held on May 21.
Packing Lunches for People Experiencing Homelessness Packing 100+ kosher lunches for people experiencing homelessness, to be delivered by Bridges Outreach. Jewish learning provided by Justice League alumnus Julie Levine.
South Mountain Conservancy Forest Restoration Maintaining the trails, planting vegetation, and guarding from mosquitoes in this beautiful forest.
"Buddy it Up!" with adults who have special needs This J-Serve favorite went right to the group home of Cerebral Palsy of North Jersey (CPNJ) consumers to create tzedakah boxes, engage in recreation and create snacks.
Arboretum Gardening Gardening to help maintain the beautiful public Reeves Reed Arboretum grounds. Jewish learning provided by our Chief Justice of the JTEEN Justice League Macy Gimbel.
Inter-Generational Service for the Hungry! Teen volunteers joined the residents of Westfield Senior Citizens Housing along with adults and children from Center for Volunteerism of The Jewish Federation to create about 300 kosher lunches and snack bags, personalized and donated to St. Joseph's Social Services in Elizabeth.
Domestic violence training and support **Only for volunteers ages 14+** Volunteers participated in Rachel Coalition’s teen “In Her Shoes” simulation to break preconceptions of domestic abuse and learn strategies to help support victims. This was followed by creating supportive kits for children waiting at the Newark Family Court House.