Preparations continue apace for Mitzvah Day

PLANTING daffodil bulbs, donating food to the homeless and writing Christmas cards to troops in Afghanistan are just some of the activities that scores of north Londoners will take part in on Mitzvah Day.

Organised by members of the Jewish community, Mitzvah Day encourages people to donate their time, rather than money, to improve the area and help local residents.

Mitzvah means “Good Deed,” and this year the volunteering day – which is open to all faiths and age groups – will take place on Sunday November 21.

Julia Marcuson, of Menelik Road, West Hampstead, will be leading a host of community-minded activities, with her three small children in tow.

She told the Ham&High: “I think the whole concept of Mizvah Day is important, because people give their time rather than money to improve the area for everyone in the community and not just our own Jewish community.

“It’s amazing what a difference we can make to someone else by donating just a few hours.”

Mrs Marcuson, who attends the Brondesbury Park Synagogue, will take part in a daffodil planting session in the park near the synagogue which is used by all members of the community. She will also be collecting books for the British Heart Foundation.

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Elsewhere, children at the North London Jewish Day School, near Cricklewood, will be making and sending Chanukah and Christmas cards to Jewish and non-Jewish troops on active service.

On November 15, a shopping trolley will be positioned outside the headteacher’s office, and children will be invited to fill it with items for the Brent Refugee Forum.

Ruth Finkel, a teaching assistant at the school who is co-ordinating Mitzvah Day activities, said: “It always means so much more to receive something that’s been made for you.

“We’ve chosen to send Christmas and Chanukah cards to troops because we shouldn’t forget those who fought for our freedom in the past, and those who are fighting for it now.

“Lots of people can afford to give money to charity, which we already do, but it’s important for children to learn that giving up their time is equally important.”

Members of the South Hampstead Synagogue are taking part in Mitzvah Day “charity” shopping at Tesco’s in England’s Lane.

They will collect food and essential items from shoppers outside the supermarket and donate them to the New Horizons Youth Centre in Camden. Young people from the synagogue are also planting daffodils at the Marie Curie Hospice.

This year as a specific Ham&High project, we are calling on residents and other community figures to join us visiting every elderly persons home in the areas we cover from Hornsey and Crouch End, Hampstead, Golders Green and Camden Town to Maida Vale and Marylebone.

Anyone interested should email and we will confirm all the necessary details. We will ensure you are assigned a home and you can state a preference if you prefer. For more information call us on 020-7433 6217 or email

There are plenty of other community events to take part in on the day if the Ham&High challenge doesn’t suit you. For more information go to