Teaching our kids Jewish values also is about contributing to the community. I’m happy to have a guest post by Daniel Rothner, director of Areyvut as part of the Mitzvot Unplugged series to talk about some of Areyvut’s creative projects, including Mitzvah Clowning.
Areyvut believes in turning Jewish values from abstract ideas into concrete action. Through our many programs, we instill the core Jewish values of chesed, tzedakah and tikkun olam.
One such program, Mitzvah Clowning, teaches participants skills that they can then use throughout their life to bring happiness to others. Participants attend a training and learn about bikkur cholim (visiting the sick) and kavod habriyot (human dignity), they role play different scenarios, learn how to make balloon animals and apply clown makeup. By the end of their initial training participants have already put into action what they have learned by going on a site visit and bringing joy to senior citizens, children with special needs or others in need of healing and a friendly visit. These newest Mitzvah Clowns then attend monthly friendly visits bringing happiness, joy and laughter to all they meet.
Mitzvah Clowning is a unique program that enables people of all ages and movements to learn a skill and chesed they can use throughout their life. Participants range in age from middle school students to senior citizens and everyone in between. Some people do it as a Mitzvah Project, to fulfill a community service requirement. Others are looking for an outlet to use their skills and talents to serve the community or just to brighten up someone else’s day. A number of participants utilize magic tricks, juggling or even unicycling to add to the experience.
The program is designed so that participants can continue to clown around for as long as they want. Mitzvah Clowning does not only teach participants about chesed. It also provides hands-on communal involvement is all about by enabling them to actively put their Jewish values into practice. Through this and other innovative programs, we hope to instill participants with Jewish values that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.
Daniel Rothner is the director of Areyvut. Areyvut, translated from Hebrew, means “responsibility.” Responsibility to
one’s community, responsibility to the world. But when it comes to what Areyvut is about, responsibility is just the beginning.
Areyvut’s mission is to infuse the lives of Jewish youth and teenagers with the core Jewish values of chesed (kindness) tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (social action). Areyvut offers Jewish day schools, congregational schools, synagogues, community centers and families a variety of opportunities to empower and enrich their youth by creating innovative programs that make these core Jewish values real and meaningful to them.
Photos Courtesy: Areyvut