It’s easy to lose sight of the “mitzvah” part of the Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration, between lessons with the rabbi and a couple of parties to plan.
In many cases, the chair-covers and hors d’oeuvres take precedence over the conveyance of any spiritual meaning associated with this milestone in a child’s life.
So how do we use the bar or bat mitzvah as a steppingstone to a lifetime of commitment to caring for the world?
That’s the question Suneby and Heiman answer in The Mitzvah Project Book.
A resource for young adults and their parents, this book is full of ideas about how to repair the world in a way that’s individually meaningful.
Drawing on a wide range of young Jewish adults, the authors cite examples of kids who have given back to the world by following their passions.
One teen who loved to knit committed to knitting caps for a Jewish organization that collects them and distributes them to children fighting cancer.
Another ran a party for children at a homeless shelter where they got to make their own ice cream sundaes.
Yet another volunteered at a food bank while a fourth, a kid who loved reading, purchased books for a library on a reservation.
The Mitzvah Project Book is a call to action, encouraging kids of bar and bat mitzvah age to do all they can do to help repair the world.
The authors give information and suggest activities intended to spark the imaginations of their readers and offer a planning guide to help kids get started.
There are mitzvah project ideas, profiles of young people from around the country who have done mitzvah projects and journal pages kids can write in as they develop their own initiatives.
These examples are inspiring and the book’s message is clear: each of us can have a meaningful impact if we are truly committed.
Recommended for ages 10–13.