These days, some synagogues require bar and bat mitzvah students to complete a so-called “mitzvah project.” This project often involves a religious, social or community-based task to present as part of their bar or bat mitzvah. In fact, it’s one of the most meaningful parts of the preparations, so here are some tips for choosing your child’s project.
The Basics of Picking a Mitzvah Project
The Right Mindset
Going into it, it’s best for you and your child not to treat it so much as a “project.” The mitzvah project’s point is to lead the child towards a lifetime of tikkun olam, or fixing the world.
Therefore, try not to think of it as just another task or thing to cross off the list. At its core, the mitzvah project is intended to inspire and encourage a continuing effort to better our world.
Choose Something Significant
In order to really make the project count, choose something your child is passionate about. Fortunately, there are so many important ways to make your mark. Whether it’s personal or for the community as a whole, choosing a project they’re interested in will make the process that much more personal.
Be Honest with Yourself
Sure, there are many things we can do in this world if we had the time. However, whichever mitzvah project you choose, you have to ensure you’ll be able to see it through to the end.
That’s not to say it always has to be done before the actual bar or bat mitzvah. It just needs to be something that’s realistic and easily scalable.
Fun and Interesting Mitzvah Project Ideas
When it comes to actually choosing the project, there are a whole bevy of ideas out there. However, if you’re having trouble choosing one, here are a couple of our favorites.
It’s no secret that giving and charity are two essential tenets of Judaism. Therefore, it also shouldn’t come as a surprise that many children choose to donate or volunteer for their project.
Whether they’re collecting toys for needy kids, volunteering at a soup kitchen or donating to an important cause, any kind of charitable giving is encouraged.
On the other hand, some people choose a prayer exercise for their mitzvah project. After choosing a prayer that resonates, a child can discover the literal meaning, explore the context, translate it, make a scrapbook, you name it. Any prayer-oriented project is more than enough.
A mitzvah project is an important part of every Jewish child’s upbringing, so try not to take it lightly!