Friday 15 November
Nagila, EDRS’s wonderful pre-school nursery took part in two excellent projects for Mitzvah Day. The children created a lovely piece of art which was the backdrop for the EDRS Mitzvah Day Tea (see below) and visited Sydmar Lodge, a Jewish residential home in Edgware. At Sydmar Lodge the children delivered gifts, which they had donated at wrapped, to the residents and sang to them creating a wonderful atmosphere.

Sunday 17 November
What a day and what a buzz! EDRS commenced the day with an assembly led by Rabbi Danny Smith explaining what a Mitzvah is and what the day is about. Then each of the eight years in Orot, the Religion School, went off to do one of the many projects organised for the day. Everyone met back at 12.30 when students from each year group told the rest of the school what they had experienced and done that morning. We all went home feeling that it had been a very successful event.

The Orot projects were:
Gan, Years 1and 2
Following our Mitzvah (good deed) of saying goodbye to Shabbat with Havdalah, we then learnt a song called "The World is a Circle" reminding us that we are all part of the world and that Mitzvot happen world-wide on Mitzvah Day. We discussed simple Mitzvot, such as helping at home or holding a door open for someone. We then produced a Mitzvot Tree with our class groups. We also made cards to send to the children from our charity "Save a Child's Heart". Once the children had helped to tidy up, we had the story called the "Healing Pear" about a man who did kind deeds for others.

Year 3
Today, Mitzvah Day, year 3were making get well cards for SACH (Save a Child’s Heart) using wallpaper to cut out shapes, heart stickers and Magen David confetti. We also had cut outs of “get well soon” מהירה". "החלמה שלמה","רפואה
After break the children decorated cupcakes with icing and sprinkles. Then we decorated Plant pots. The plant pots were used to decorate the tables at the Mitzvah Day tea for 70 guests and the cakes were enjoyed as part of the scrumptious tea. The children had a wonderful time doing something good for other people.

Year 4
Year 4started the morning with a singing rehearsal and the students were then driven by parents to Whitchurch Lodge, a non-Jewish Residential Home in Edgware. The children delighted the residents with songs in both Hebrew and English and many of the residents joined in; either singing or clapping along. The children brought smiles to the faces of everyone there. After the performance, they spent time chatting to the elderly people and gave gifts of chocolates, biscuits and flowers that had been kindly donated and wrapped by EDRS families.
The residents wanted an encore and the children happily obliged, singing lots of their songs once again, leaving both the staff and residents of the home smiling –mission accomplished for Mitzvah Day!

Year 5
Year 5 started the morning sharing a Skype session with our twin community in Odessa. The children really enjoyed the meeting and learned a lot. It was lovely to exchange Chanukah traditions and sing songs. The students had enthusiastically prepared a colourful hand made ‘glass windows’ of a Chanukah to show the Odessa Class.
EDRS Skyping with Emanu Els. Students from our twin community in Odessa, making their Chanukiot
After the break the students made get well cards for children who are in hospital and also Chanukiot to give to Northwick Park Hospital.

Year 6
The first part of the morning involved the children considering what it must be like to be a Jewish man or women serving in the armed services. They discussed emotions that the soldiers may experience whilst away from home and then made individual and beautiful cards to send to those currently serving abroad. After the break, Mark Gill from Barnardos addressed the children and told them what it was like to grow up in a Barnardos Home.
The children were enthralled and asked many questions. There didn’t seem to be enough time. They then filled decorated shoe boxes with toys for children in Barnardos projects.

Year 7
Year 7 students went to the Kennedy Leigh Family Centre in Hendon where they were given refreshments and the cleaned toys. They also coloured in pictures that were to be used for decorations in Norwood Homes. The students feel as though there is a potential to get lots out of the experience.
High School
On Sunday November 17th 2013, five students and four adults went to the Norwood offices in Stanmore, to take part in the Mitzvah day activities. The activity was to create Chanukah decorations for the Ravenswood home. There were pictures of Chanukiot, Dreidles and Stars of David which were ably coloured in by the group. We also made paper chains from strips of coloured paper. We were given tea and coffee and fed with bowls of crisps and pretzels. They even gave us a pizza to share. some really good work.

Other projects
Sorting Donations
Our group was there for a couple of hours and we produced
Many generous people donated some lovely things for Norwood, the homes, toys for the local hospital, SACH, and presents to the residents of Whitchurch Lodge Care Home in Edgware. Toys for Barnados were put into decorated shoe boxes. With the help of volunteers everything was sorted into piles, bagged up and more volunteers delivered to the various destinations. A lovely time was had by all.

Burial of Sacred Books
Members of Council and Hon. Officers enjoying the morning at EDRS, checking and repairing sacred books and, together with Rabbi Smith, delivering those which could not be repaired to Cheshunt and Edgwarebury Lane for burial.

Cleaning up of Canon’s Park

A group of volunteers met at Canon’s park – draped the bunting on the gate and promptly set to work with a representative from the Friends of Canon’s Park (and also an EDRS member) to prune, plant and perfect the garden before the frost bites!

20s & 30s at Sainsbury’s in Stanmore
Under the guidance of Council representative, Sarah Serota a group of EDRS’ young adults encouraged shoppers to donate non-perishable food for Homeless Action in Barnet and one generous person donated a whole trolley!

Mitzvah Day Community Tea
Many members of EDRS worked tirelessly to ensure that 70 people who would normally be isolated and alone on a weekend were able to join with others to enjoy a scrumptious tea. We received so many lovely scones, cakes and biscuits that we were able to offer take-home treats for our guests. Thanks to the drivers of the Jewish Care buses we were able to bring people in from wider afield. The atmosphere was relaxed and content and comments from our guests included: ‘I just wanted to say what a wonderful afternoon we all had! It was so heartening to take part in such a rewarding event with all the generations of the Shul community taking part. The youth were really amazing and were so helpful. The people on our table really enjoyed themselves with plenty of tea and tremendous scones, cream and jam and cakes’ and ‘A big Thank You. It was indeed a fulfilling experience to have participated in today’s Mitvah. It was a pleasure to work on the fantastic team you have put together.’

Youth Groups

Young people were involved all day with the Youth Forum and others helping with the morning’s activities but particularly the tea. They showed great commitment and energy and brought a great amount of joy to people of all ages throughout the day.
Clubs in the afternoon made a Chanukiah for the Jewish children in Northwick Park Hospital and were able to present these, together with gifts that had been donated and wrapped by the groups, to representatives from Northwick Park’s Hospital Radio who came to the clubs on Mitzvah Day evening.

To Conclude...

Over 300 EDRS’ members of all ages took part in Mitzvah Day. The community were galvanised and enthusiastic and everyone made a positive contribution. Thank you to all concerned – the donors, the packers, the drivers, the hosts, the young, the old and everyone in between. A particular thank you to all the members of staff and volunteers who organised all the projects, working tirelessly to ensure that everything was prepared, possible and successful.

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