- Do you know what the word Mitzvah means? - I asked a little girl from L'chaim Sunday School.

- This is when people do good deeds for each other, - answered she.

Such a simple explanation of a commandment.

Temple Beth Am organizes Mitzvah Day each year. This year was a jubilee - the 10th year that Temple celebrated Mitzvah Day.This tradition is very important not only to those who organize it, but also those for whom it is organized.

A Mitzvah can be looked at as a lifeline to God and a way to stay close to God. And who does not want to come closer to God?

The day started by the meeting in the sanctuary. Many hundreds of congregates were there, all of them had a common goal, they were happy. Before setting out to do good deeds (Mitzvah) in the Miami community, Rabbi spoke to congregates and blessed them.

Mitzvah Day is also a family day as many children participate. Many projects are also geared for the participation of children.

People went everywhere in Miami: from visiting the infirm, to cheering the elderly in their community homes, to caring for abandoned animals to planting trees or painting a facility that could not otherwise afford a fresh coat of paint.

The next stop was the social hall where there were tables set up for the 30 different projects. Each project had a captain (leader) in charge and the participants for each particular project were gathering there to receive their instructions. All the participants eagerly rushed into all directions of the wind.

Hopefully all of them came closer to God that beautiful Mitzvah Day.

It was a real holiday. I'd like to express to you the true joy that I felt when I got to participate in two projects.

The first of which was visiting L'chaim Sunday School for Russian immigrant children. This school was organized by Jewish Community Services, Refugee Resettlement Program to teach children Jewish culture, traditions and holidays. Children love their school, the lessons that are conducted by the teachers Joshua and Esther Miezel are very interesting and informative. It brought joy to my heart to see the delight in the faces of the children as they received the generous gift of books from the synagogue.

The second project was the Picnic at Oleta River Park with a delicious BBQ, salad, fruits, and other treats organized for recently arrived Russian refugees.

...I took some pictures in memory of this wonderful day. At the picnic I rekindled friendships with people I have not seen since my arrival in Miami, and at the same time I met new friends. Among them was the lovely family of the leader of this project, Lisa and Ari Benegas.

The symbol of this holiday is Magen David woven of two triangles, one of which is a heart. It is not by chance that the artist chose to portray the Magen David in such a manner. It is in this design that the true meaning of the holiday is revealed: Mitzvah always radiate from the kindness of our hearts.

Transfer into English by Inna Maltseva
Miami, 2003