Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert Kennedy, addressing the Coalition of Immokalee Workers – one of the organizations that we are partnering with during November’s Mitzvah Month

Check out one of my previous blog posts on Judaism and Halloween!

I am not a fan of Mitzvah Days. Every single day we should strive to do our part to heal the world. Our tradition urges us to do this by embracing the mitzvah of Gemilut Hasadim – performing acts of love and kindness. We should all be engaged in ongoing activities that allow us to roll up our sleeves, lift up our neighbors and help improve our community. I worry that Mitzvah Days have the potential to incorrectly teach folks that we can limit the acts of love and kindness we engage in, to one day. There are too many individuals, causes and issues that need our love and kindness. We can’t possibly fulfill the mitzvah of Gemilut Hasadim in one day. It’s an ongoing, never-ending task that all of us should be engaged in.

The month of November, the month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving, is a perfect time to affirm our commitment to Gemilut Hasadim. And so throughout November, we’re offering several ways for us to spread the love and kindness. Yes, we’re calling November “Mitzvah Month.” However, it’s my hope that none of us limit our ability to make a difference to a month. For some, our upcoming Mitzvah Month will simply be a continuation of the acts of love and kindness you’re already engaged in. It’s my hope that for others, our Mitzvah Month will jump-start a meaningful and ongoing desire to heal the world.

Here are some of our Mitzvah Month opportunities (please note, due to limited space, you must RSVP for each of these opportunities by emailing diane@ramatshalom.org):

Sunday, November 6: Craig’s Pantry – Join us at Craig’s Pantry (100 South Pine Island Road) at 9:00AM as we prepare and deliver monthly food packages to pantry clients. Craig’s Pantry works with close to 200 local individuals and families who struggle to put food on the table and rely heavily on the pantry’s monthly deliveries. This is a great opportunity for families.

Sunday, November 13: Coalition of Immokalee Workers – Performing acts of love and kindness is not just about giving to others. It also involves learning about the challenges others face. If we don’t understand these challenges, we can’t truly help them. Many of us are unaware of the fact that right here in Florida, migrant farm workers face tremendous struggles as they harvest the food we eat. We must educate ourselves about their struggles and learn how we can help them. We will do just this by traveling to Immokalee, Florida (about a 90-minute drive; we’ll arrive at 9:00AM and stay for a few hours) to meet with, learn from and work with migrant workers who work in Florida’s tomato fields. This is a unique opportunity to come face to face with a crisis that has made headlines and continues to make lives miserable for many. Just last week, the James Beard Foundation, with the help of Robert Kennedy’s daughter, Kerry Kennedy, honored the Coalition of Immokalee Workers with its prestigious Leadership Award for its “innovative work in forging a new human rights model in the food industry supply chain.”

Sunday, November 20: Broward Partnership for the Homeless – Providing shelter to those who don’t have a roof over their heads is one of the best ways to share your love and kindness. We are grateful to live in a community that has wonderful organizations like the Broward Partnership that works tirelessly to help the more than 2,000 men, women and children in Broward County who have no shelter. Join us at the Broward Partnership on November 20 at 10:30AM as we prepare and serve brunch for the residents. Space is extremely limited and you must be 16 or older! Don’t forget to RSVP to diane@ramatshalom.org.

Throughout November, there will be other opportunities to share your love and kindness. Check Instagram and Facebook for more information!

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