The Mitz­vah Project Book: Mak­ing Mitz­vah Part of Your Bar/​Bat Mitz­vah and Your Life

  • Review
By – April 24, 2012
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.

Inter­view with Diane Heiman
Lau­ren Kramer is a Van­cou­ver-based jour­nal­ist, wife, and moth­er with a life­long pas­sion for lit­er­a­ture. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, she has won awards for her writ­ing and report­ed from many cor­ners of the world. Read more of her work at www​.lau​renkramer​.net.

Discussion Questions