Renée Nordstrand-Black and Doug Black of NordstrandBlack PC feel truly thankful for all the good fortune in our lives. One of our greatest pleasures is living in such a beautiful community.
The Santa Barbara area isn’t just a gorgeous place to live – the people here are so warm and giving that Renée and Doug can’t imagine living anywhere else. Renée and her family gladly welcome the opportunity to give back to the local community when they can.
In recognition of Jewish values and traditions, volunteers throughout the globe celebrate Mitzvah Day by lending a hand to people in need. On November 20, 2022, Renée and her two daughters participated in Mitzvah Day activities at Congregation B’nai B’rith (CBB) in Santa Barbara by making gift bags for people living in senior homes and creating holiday treats for children at the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.
What Is Mitzvah Day?
The Hebrew word mitzvah literally means a commandment that’s performed as a religious duty. But the term is also generally accepted to denote doing a good deed. Mitzvah Day is an international day of social action where people who practice several faiths come together in the spirit of kindness.
This day of good deeds was initiated in 2005 by a woman in the United Kingdom named Laura Marks who wanted to help people do something beneficial for their communities. Observance of Mitzvah Day continues grow and it’s been celebrated by people in over 35 countries.
Mitzvah Day at CBB in Santa Barbara
CBB began celebrating Mitzvah Day in 2005. Right from the beginning, it’s been one of the largest annual events that the congregation sponsors. Mitzvah Day has become an integral part of CBB’s Tikkun Olam Initiative, which includes projects that occur throughout the year.
The 2022 CBB Mitzvah Day activities included:
- Donating to local blood banks through Vitalant
- Assembling lunch bags for the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission
- Making paracord bracelets that are added to care packages distributed to American soldiers by Operation Gratitude
- Tree gleaning at private homes and donating the proceeds to local food charities
- Animal Mitzvah – making treats, toys, and warmers for local shelters
- Writing notes of support for Ukrainian soldiers and providing assistance for Lviv Medical Volunteers who ship humanitarian supplies to soldiers fighting in the Ukraine
- Making Hanukkah treats for seniors at local retirement homes
- Scrapbooking for the Dream Foundation that serves terminally ill patients and their families
- Creating holiday snowman candy bars that will be given to children fighting cancer by the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation
- Joining Cantor Mark Childs for a visit to the Vista Del Mar Retirement Community to share Hanukkah Music and other Jewish Songs
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