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Annual Community Mitzvah Day 2019

Sunday, February 24, 2019 19 Adar I 5779

9:00 AM - 12:00 PMJRC

Plan to join us for our annual Mitzvah Day from 9:00am to 12:00pm on Sunday, February 23, 2020.
A variety of projects means that there will be a fun and meaningful activity for all ages and abilities.  
Mitzvah Day is a wonderful opportunity to engage and work together in helpful and meaningful projects of direct action, and advocacy to better our community, by doing mitzvot for our neighbors and non-profit community partners.  All are welcome - whether you are a member of Judea Reform or not!  

Want to volunteer, participate or have questions? please email
The numbers from 2019 Mitzvah Day

  • About 220 congregants supported and engaged in ten Mitzvah Projects helping ongoing Judea Reform Social Action Partner organizations. Together, we...
  • Made 48 signs for CROP Walk Durham - Join Team Judea on April 7 to raise funds to end hunger in Durham and around the world. Contact Chip Carnathan for details on how to participate!
  • Wrote 75 letters to elected leaders in support of refugees, people seeking asylum and for an end to ICE raids in our state; and 65 cards of solidarity and hope to immigrants being held at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA.
  • Created 110 beautiful bookmarks for kids who receive books from Book Harvest.
  • Decorated 99 cards for JRC to send to congregants and donors
  • Pumped out 23 pints of life-saving blood for the American Red Cross
  • Cooked casseroles and donated the full dinner for up to 200 people at Urban Ministries (something we do EVERY MONTH with two other Jewish congregations in Durham).
  • Prepared lunches for 300 homeless and food insecure people, distributed on Monday via Urban Ministries.
  • Donated and packaged 225 pounds of cat and dog food for the pets of Durham Meals on Wheels clients.
  • Donated over 100 pairs of prescription eye glasses to the Lions Club.
  • Built at 301 College Park Rd, Hillsborough for Habitat of Orange County
  • Cared for our sanctuary, cleaning and checking prayer books that need repair.

Join us for our annual Mitzvah Day from 9:00am to 12:00pm on Sunday, February 24. We will begin with a convocation in the sanctuary at 9:30am, then disperse to sites at JRC to begin our project work at 10:00am. 

A variety of projects means that there will be a fun and meaningful activity for all ages and abilities. Projects include preparing meals for Urban Ministries of Durham, making cards for Passover, creating signs for the annual CROP Walk Against Hunger, advocating for justice and kindness for refugees, and donating blood to the Red Cross, and more! 

Mitzvah Day is a wonderful opportunity to engage and work together in helpful and meaningful projects of direct action, and advocacy to better our community, by doing mitzvot for our neighbors and non-profit community partners.  All are welcome - whether you are a member of Judea Reform or not!  


3 Things You Can Do!


  • Sign-up for a Mitvzah Day Project! Click  HERE here to register
  • Please also consider registering for a 15-minute slot to donate blood.* The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will be on site from 10:00am - 2:30pm and is in urgent need of blood donations! Sign up at and enter keyword Judea.
  • Donate much-needed Mitzvah Day supplies, whether for your project or another, and drop off in advance at Judea Reform. Click HERE for the supply list and to sign up to donate.


9:00 am Check-in, day of registration, and name-tag pick up

9:30 am Meet in the sanctuary for T’filah and blessing for Mitzvah Day  

10:00 am Mitzvah Day Projects begin

11:30 am -12 pm Wrap up, clean up, and reflection 

12- 2:30 pm Extended time for Red Cross blood drive with greater community (JCC & others)


Religious School will be in session on Mitzvah Day.  Students will be participating with their classrooms/ teachers in a pre-assigned project; parents of Religious School parents can register for any project of their own choosing.


Projects Listed by Jewish Principle:

AhavatHaGer - Loving the Stranger

Refugee and Immigrant Advocacy 
Welcome the Stranger. Many of our relatives were lost because no one spoke up for them in the 1940s and before. We'll write cards to our elected officials in the new congress to advocate for humane, just and welcoming policies for refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants. We'll share an update and provide guidance on specific messages. We will also write cards and messages of support to detainees - many from NC - who are imprisoned at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA.

Activity includes: Letter writing, picture making, advocacy and education 
Appropriate for: all ages and abilities including middle and high school students
Project Leaders: Tom Wolf and Susan Dennison

Bookmarks for Book Harvest
Join us as we make fabric bookmarks that Book Harvest will give to kids who receive books from them. We will have blank bookmarks made from fabric that you decorate with fun accent fabrics that are permanently fused together, and then you add pretty yarn tassels.
Activity includes: gluing, decorating with yarn and fabric 
Appropriate for: all ages and abilities 
Project Leaders: Deborah Roth

Bikkur Cholim - Caring for the Sick

Red Cross Blood Drive
The bloodmobile will be on-site at Judea Reform from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm. Sign up for a 15-minute time slot to donate blood at this link: and enter keyword Judea. Quick & easy to do even if you're signed up for another project! 
Activity includes: completing Red Cross requirements for donors
Project Leader: Doug Fein
Appropriate for: must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 lbs.

G'milut Chasadim - Giving of Loving-Kindness

Passover Greeting Cards for Older Adults
Join us in crafting Passover greeting cards that Judea Reform will send to our older congregants. Participants will decorate cards, write their own messages, and prepare the cards for mailing.

Activity includes: card making and decorating  
Appropriate for: all abilities and older children
Project Leader: Steve Weiss

Casserole Cooking for Urban Ministries of Durham
Join us in the Weiss Family Kitchen to prepare casseroles for our monthly mitzvot. For many years, JRC has worked with Beth El & Kehillah Congregations to provide a monthly meal for the homeless and poor at Urban Ministries in downtown Durham. We provide 12 large tuna casseroles, green beans, drinks, dessert and some sandwiches. Our congregants are invited to help with the prep crew, the serving crew and with ingredient donations. Our dinner is the 4th Sunday of each month

Activity: opening cans, stirring, mixing, spooning and cooking
Appropriate for: Adults and mature children with an accompanying adult. Participants will be standing, working with food (hot and cold ingredients) and need to be able to follow directions. 
Project Leaders: Judy Holland & Jen Richmond-Bryant

CROP Hunger Walk Sign-Making 
Join us preparing for our annual participation in the CROP walk which happens on April 7th. Judea Reform volunteers to provide posters intended to teach walkers and others about hunger in Durham, the US and the rest of the world. These posters are placed along the Durham CROP Hunger Walk route where upwards of 2000 people view them during the CROP Hunger Walk. Your participation in the project involves the design and preparation of posters.

Activity includes: Drawing, designing, block lettering and coloring
Project Leader: Chip Carnathan
Appropriate for: all ages and abilities; especially older children and teens

Lunches for Urban Ministries of Durham 
Join us as we make sandwiches & package other lunch items for people experiencing homelessness who receive services from Urban Ministries in Durham. Please also sign up to contribute supplies at this link.  

Activity: making cheese sandwiches and packing snacks
Appropriate for: all ages; kids, teens, adults
Project Leader: Valerie Flax

Meals on Wheels for Dogs and Cats
Join us in providing a meal for the pets of home-bound Durham people who receive a Meals on Wheels dinner.  Meals on Wheels Durham is also seeking volunteers to assist with the growing  need in Durham, stop by their table at Mitzvah Day to chat with Executive Director, Gale Adland.  

Activity includes: Scooping and repackaging kibble in to meal size ziplock bag
Appropriate for: all ages and abilities
Project Leader: Cheryl Denardo

Iyyun Tefilah - Making Prayer Meaningful

Prayer Books & Sanctuary Clean-Up
Join us in the Judea Reform sanctuary to examine sanctuary books to find ones in need of repair
and inspect prayer books for have markings that should not be there, or have inserts that should be removed.
Appropriate for: Adults
Project Leader: Lila Singer

Sukkat Shalom - A Shelter of Peace

Habitat for Humanity Framing (off-site in Orange County) 
Pre-register via to join us on an Orange Habitat Build. We will be working outdoors. Bring a hammer and gloves, closed-toed shoes, and dress appropriately for the weather. We will be working 8:15-Noon in Hillsborough. Sign up ASAP as slots are filling fast on this interfaith build. 

Activity: light construction, outdoors
Appropriate for: Teens 16 and older (16 & 17-year olds must have signed parental waiver, available on registration site), adults; not suitable for children
Project Leaders: John Jull & Lloyd Comstock



Recycle Your Specs - Used Eyeglass Donation

Please bring eyeglasses that you no longer use and drop them in the box in the Judea Reform Lobby. They will donated to Lions Club of Durham who collect eyewear to distribute to needy recipients free of charge. Prescription glasses, sunglasses, goggles, and other visual aids that are suitable for immediate use after cleaning are accepted.


Want to volunteer, participate or have questions? please email

*Special notice from the American Red Cross


Severe winter weather across the U.S. coupled with an influenza outbreak impacting 36 states, has caused the American Red Cross to reissue their emergency plea for blood and platelet donations. During the month of January, snow, ice and cold temperatures has caused the Red Cross to collect more than 14,000 fewer donations—resulting in Red Cross blood donations being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in.

With more cold weather and heavy snow predicted across the U.S., it is important that eligible individuals in areas unaffected by the weather make an appointment to give blood or platelets now. Patients in need of lifesaving blood products can’t wait until the weather improves this winter.

All eligible donors, especially platelet and blood donors with type O blood, are urgently needed to help restock the shelves for hospital patients

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