Liberals triumph at Mitzvah Day Awards

5 February 2018 – 20 Shevat 5778

5 February 2018

Nottingham Liberal Synagogue (NLS) was praised for its Salaam Shalom Kitchen, as the project gained a key social action award.

The kitchen – a partnership between NLS and local Muslim charity Himmah – won the Mitzvah Day 365 Award in a ceremony at JW3.

The Salaam Shalom Kitchen offers a hot meal and company, in a café atmosphere, every Wednesday for guests including those suffering from food poverty, asylum seekers and refugees, people with mental health issues and the elderly and isolated.

Members of Muslim and Jewish communities, together with many other individuals and groups, help at the kitchen. For Mitzvah Day 2017, it hosted a vibrant and fun project, bringing together young Muslim, Jewish and Catholic volunteers.

Nottingham’s Rabbi Tanya Sakhnovich was one of four representatives collecting the coveted prize (pictured above). She said: “Our project doesn’t just help those in need. It helps the Muslims and Jews involved to build better relationships.

“There are things I wouldn’t know about the Muslim community were it not for this project. It has allowed people to make genuine friendships. We think of ourselves as a family.”

East London & Essex Liberal Synagogue member Sonia Muscovitch was presented with the night’s top award for Outstanding Mitzvah Day Individual.

Guests were told how Sonia, who is both employed by and volunteers for Langdon, “has dedicated most of her life to working with young people with learning disabilities, inspiring many along the way.”

With more 100 people taking part in their 2017 Mitzvah Day, and a visit from the Chief Rabbi, Sonia has overseen Langdon’s evolution from a beneficiary charity to its members playing a full role in the day.

Speaking to the Jewish Chronicle – who sponsored the event – Sonia said: “Seeing the young people from Langdon volunteering for Mitzvah Day is really rewarding. It made them feel confident about giving back, rather than people giving to them all the time. It is empowering and increases their independence.”

The Mitzvah Awards were voted for by the public, with more than 4,000 people taking part in the poll.

Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue was a runner-up in the Outstanding Interfaith Partnership category, for bringing its cheder children together with two local Muslim Madrasas to learn about one another and create gifts for the Christian charity New Hope.

A village-wide project in Hawkshead, Cumbria, spearheaded by its only Jew, Abigail Mann – daughter of Liberal Judaism’s Rabbi Alan Mann – finished as a runner-up for Outstanding Mitzvah Day Group.

Read the Jewish Chronicle story here.

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