Not In Our Town kicks off Mitzvah Day | Not in Our Town

Not In Our Town kicks off Mitzvah Day

On April 25, 2010, Not In Our Town teamed up with Temple Israel of the City of New York to declare that fighting prejudice and bigotry is a mitzvah, no matter your religion.

 NIOT Executive Producer Patrice O'Neill and staffer Sue Fishkoff  presented the Not In Our Town message at this Reform synagogue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, to kick off the congregation's Mitzvah Day.

Mitzvah Day is a project of the Reform movement, whereby an entire congregation spends a day volunteering in the local community. A mitzvah is, literally, a commandment according to the Jewish tradition, but the word has come to mean a good deed of any kind.

At Temple Israel, children and adults spent an hour watching and discussing NIOT videos, and the congregation as a whole committed to pursuing the Not In Our Town goals of safety and acceptance for all.

Afterwards, 400 congregants spread out across the city, logging 2400 volunteer hours in such activities as  visiting the elderly in nursing homes, helping build a house for Habitat for Humanity, making school books for children in Haiti,  preparing food for a homeless shelter, and running a blood drive.

Rabbi David Gelfand of Temple Israel thanked the Not In Our Town team for sharing its message: "I wish you only the best for your continued sacred work to help heal the world, and your reaching out to repair and educate communities who have felt and lived with the pains of bigotry."