You’ve set the date. Your child is working on their Torah portion. You’ve called the caterer. But hang on: There’s still something important left to do before a bar or bat mitzvah! Many synagogues ask their b’nai mitzvah students to participate in a community service project that is meaningful to them, as a personalized way of reinforcing lessons about communal responsibility and tzedakah. Which often leaves parents wondering: How do I help my child find a meaningful bar or bat mitzvah project?

When choosing a project, start with something your child is passionate about, or naturally gravitates toward. Then take a look at our Jewish Federation’s community volunteer resource guide, where each mitzvah opportunity can be turned into a rewarding bar or bat mitzvah project. For example, is your child is interested in:

  • Feeding the Hungry? Take shifts at our Mitzvah Food Program’s five pantry locations; pack food with the Jewish Relief Agency
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  • Helping Older Adults? Be a big help doing small chores through the Northeast NORC; or pay a friendly visit to the residents of Abramson Center for Jewish Life
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  • Supporting People With Disabilities? Make new special-needs friends through the kid-oriented Friendship Circle; pitch in with art and cooking projects at JFCS Brodsky Center
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  • Social Justice? Take action with Repair the World; or bake to raise money and awareness with Challah for Hunger
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  • Aiding Refugees? Collect school and housing supplies for new arrivals with HIAS PA
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  • Preserving Jewish Legacy? Help maintain our historic Jewish cemeteries with a cleanup day; or arrange to meet an actual Holocaust survivor and keep their stories alive.

To browse our full list of volunteer opportunities near you, click here. And mazel tov!