Established in 1998, the mission of the EBJC Mitzvah Corps is to help identify Mitzvot and to encourage members of the East Brunswick Jewish Center to observe and participate in Mitzvot. The goal of the Mitzvah Corps is to help EBJC members continue to increase their observance of Mitzvot and to assist other synagogue members and the Jewish community in general to do the same.
Mitzvah Corps responsibilities, activities and accomplishments include:
- coordinating and leading shiva minyan services – this includes bringing books and chairs to mourners’ homes, ensuring that a minyan is present, leading the services and offering appropriate words of comfort to the mourners. Over the last 15 years, the Mitzvah Corps has helped to comfort hundreds of mourners and their families. (If you are a member family in need of this assistance, please contact the EBJC office.)
- among the many Mitzvot we attempt to observe, one is that of eating in the Sukkah. The Mitzvah Corps was a driving force behind the construction of a large Sukkah on the outdoor basketball court to better accommodate the large number of congregants attending Sukkot services. The Mitzvah Corps helps to coordinate construction each year and funds repairs from donations received. Over the years, Sukkahfests have been held celebrating the holiday of Sukkot through dancing and singing. The Mitzvah Corps annually purchases additional sets of Lulavim and Etrogim for use by EBJC congregants during Sukkot.
- the Yizkor Book, used four times during the year, was introduced and is published by the Mitzvah Corps. Produced in house, 100% of the Tzedakah donations support the activities of the Religious Committee and the EBJC.
- religious articles may not simply be thrown out. They must be buried separately on the grounds of a Jewish Cemetery or buried with a righteous person. The Mitzvah Corps purchases graves when the need arises for the burial of these religious articles.
- as Sefri Torah age, there is often a need for repair. The Mitzvah Corps has made donations for the repair of Sefri Torah.
- the signature activity of the Mitzvah Corps is its support for the health and battlefield safety of the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). This support was initially manifested by sending funds to Israel for the purchase of Kevlar vests and other supplies for the Golani Battallion 51 of the Golani Brigade. The campaign to raise funds began in 2001 through direct donations to the Mitzvah Corps. In subsequent years the majority of the funds sent to Israel were raised from the annual Passover Wine Sale and wine/liquor sales for holidays and simchas. Over the years the Mitzvah Corps has sent tens of thousands of dollars to Israel for Golani 51 vests and other needed health and battlefield safety supplies. Over the years, traveling EBJC congregants have encountered other travelers and Golani 51 soldiers who have expressed their gratitude to members of the EBJC for their generosity and support. Mitzvah Corps members and congregants have personally delivered checks to current and former members of Golani 51, funds used to support the needs of the troop. A plaque thanking the EBJC for its generosity and support hangs in the synagogue’s main corridor. In 2007, the Mitzvah Corps began to donate funds to ישר לחייל (Yashar LaChayal-Straight to the Soldiers). From 2007 to present the Mitzvah corps, on behalf of the EBJC, has sent over $38,000 to Yashar LaChayal. The funds were utilized to purchase water packs, fleece jackets and DVD players for various IDF units. The presentations of these supplies have been made by Mitzvah Corps members and other EBJC members. In all instances these donations have been acknowledged by plaques and/or video presentations.
The Mitzvah Corps does not charge dues and has no formal membership list. Membership in the Mitzvah Corps is an honorary designation and is obtained through ongoing participation in Mitzvah Corps activities as noted above.
The involvement of individuals in these activities signifies that Mitzvot are being performed, which is precisely the goal of the Mitzvah Corps. We believe that the performance of Mitzvot is beneficial to the individual, the EBJC and the Jewish community as a whole.
The founding members of the EBJC Mitzvah Corps are Jack Silverman, PJ Smith and Marty Genee. For additional information concerning participating in Mitzvah Corps activities or to be placed on the Mitzvah Corps mailing list to be called when your are needed for a minyan, please contact Marty Genee, Jack Silverman or the EBJC office.