Tikkun Olam is the Jewish way of saying “the world needs fixing, and it’s our job to fix it.” In the words of the Talmud:
“It is not upon you to finish the work, but you are not free to ignore it.”(Mishna, Ethics, 2:21)
Our B’nei Mitzvah students receive a copy of the #MitzvahQUEST board and this letter as an introduction to their #MizvahQUEST journey:
You have been specially chosen to embark on a fulfilling quest; #MitzvahQUEST. As you become a Jewish adult, there are many things you have left to learn. Your mission has already begun as you have begun to plan for your B’nei Mitzvah. Your quest will be completed on the date of your Bar/Bat Mitzvah, as you will join with your family, friends, clergy, and Jewish community to begin your Jewish adulthood.
Part of Temple Beth-El’s B’nei Mitzvah program is for each student to complete a Mitzvah Project. While we find tremendous merit in donating goods to organizations or people in need, we encourage you to get your hands dirty and be truly involved in the process of giving. As Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson said, “Tzedakah is not about giving; Tzedakah is about being.”
#MitzvahQUEST encourages ongoing relationships with Temple Beth-El and the B’nei Mitzvah process. It highlights that this is not a one-time program or event, but when we say “becoming a bar/bat mitzvah,” it actually is a process. #MitzvahQUEST focuses mainly two things: 1) the relationship building with the staff, clergy, synagogue community, and the larger San Antonio Jewish community and 2) the mitzvah project. MitzvahQUEST.com focuses on the second of those two pieces. Use the resources on the site to help develop your personal Mitzvah Project. You will find a lot of ideas in Mitzvah Project Ideas and the Mitzvah Project by Torah Portion sections. As you complete your #MitzvahQUEST board items, check each item off the list – whether it is photos, videos, written material, or anything else.
Besides the #MitzvahQUEST boards and social media aspects of the Mitzvah Project, there are two more pieces.
- Joel Swedlove, our Director of Youth Programs and Informal Education, and Rabbi Marina Yergin, our Assistant Rabbi, will check in with you once a month by text message (if applicable) or phone call. Rabbi Yergin will reach out once via text message and two weeks later, Joel Swedlove will reach out with a personal phone call. By doing these things, you will develop stronger relationships with our clergy and staff, see that you are personally cared about, and receive encouragement along your B’nei Mitzvah process.
- Once you have completed aspects of the #MitzvahQuest board, we will use your pictures, videos, paragraphs, etc. to share your journey with the congregation. Our congregation shares a weekly email blast. During the week of your B’nei Mitzvah there will be a link to our website which will show your journey. Your pictures and videos will be shared on our Temple Beth-El facebook page, our Twitter account, and our Instagram account, as well. Parents can opt out if desired, or you can let us know you do not want it publicized in the notes when you upload an item. We are proud of what our B’nei Mitzvah students are doing and want the entire Congregation and our San Antonio Community to also know.
We are so excited to embark on this journey with you! Please let me know if you have any questions!
Rabbi Marina Yergin