JBD tenants honoured for their good deeds at Mitzvah Day Awards

Communities, charities and volunteers from Essex, and all around the UK, were honoured at the Annual Mitzvah Day Awards.

Those recognised included Jewish Blind & Disabled’s tenants (some of who are pictured at the top and bottom of this article), spearheaded by two passionate volunteers living in Milne Court in South Woodford.

For the last few years, JBD tenants have donated non-perishable food items for GIFT, toiletries for a local centre for asylum seekers and refugees, pre-loved books for Langdon’s online library and knitted twiddle muffs for patients with dementia.

This year, JBD asked them to donate items for Camp Simcha’s annual toy drive, an initiative designed to bring a boost to children spending the festive season in hospital – all of which were wrapped and distributed to wards and hospices throughout London, Hertfordshire and Essex.

Milne Court tenants Maureen Vanderberg and Adrienne Poole were instrumental in making the initiative a success – and celebrated in the Mitzvah Day Individual category.

Adrienne said: “I have such fond memories of making Chanukah special for my children when they were younger. It broke my heart to think of children who are spending the festive season in hospital and wanted to do something which would make a difference.”

Maureen added: “It is so important to do things for others who are less fortunate than yourself. It only takes one person to make an impact but we were blown away by the number of tenants who wanted to contribute. We are so proud of what we achieved together.”

The Mitzvah Day Awards – held at South Hampstead Synagogue – saw a large turnout as the Jewish community were joined by Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Sikh friends and neighbours.

All stressed the need to continue the important work of interfaith social action, not only on Mitzvah Day but all year round, however difficult this may currently be.

Opening the event, Mitzvah Day founder and chair Laura Marks CBE said: “What makes these awards even more special is being joined by people from other faiths and communities. Mitzvah Day is all about being together and showing that, when we are united, we can make a real difference.”

South Hampstead Synagogue and Maidenhead Synagogue were awarded the Outstanding British Mitzvah Day prize, for which JBD were also nominated, with Maccabi Ukraine and the Union of Jewish Women Johannesburg picking up Outstanding International Mitzvah Day.

Mitzvah Day’s beneficiary charities were praised for the incredible work they do, with prizes given to Sebby’s Corner, The Separated Child Foundation, PJ Library, The Woodland Trust, Kisharon Langdon, Sufra NW London Community Kitchen and The Passage.

The evening also featured an insightful panel discussion, introduced by JLC CEO Claudia Mendoza and moderated by Mitzvah Day’s projects & partnership manager Laurie Shone.

Progressive Judaism co-lead Rabbi Josh Levy featured on the panel. He said: “A strong society is built on a network of relationships and connections between communities. Those relationships then sustain us when times, and conversations, are difficult. These deep relationships aren’t easy to build. Mitzvah Day is invaluable because it is one of those rare occasions where we get to meet people we don’t know and to work with them in a different way.”

Summing up the evening, Mitzvah Day CEO Stuart Diamond said: “Mitzvah Day shines a light on the heroes in our communities – the volunteers who dedicate themselves to service and the charities they empower. Together, they build bridges of understanding, tackle urgent needs, and make a lasting difference. Their stories inspire us all to embrace the power of collective action and create a kinder, stronger world.”

JBD's Milne Courts tenants with their certificates



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