The wonderful Mitzvah Morning Program at the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates inspires everyone, as it brings families and community members together to work on a common goal. Children, ages pre-school through high school, parents, grandparents, and other community members joined together this past Sunday morning at the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates to create special thank you gifts for the 107th Police Precinct. It was a beautiful lesson in hakaras ha’tov and a kiddush Hashem, as well. Two officers came by to accept the gifts on behalf of the police precinct. At a time when our community is so dependent on the police for security and the safety of our shuls and other Torah institutions, this was a very fitting idea.

The thank you gifts included a lovely thank you card that children colored and wrote on. This card went on the front of a travel mug. Inside the mug were a coffee packet, creamer, sugar packets, and a tea bag.

One second grader wrote on his mug, “Thank you for keeping us safe.”

A seventh grader commented, “The police protect us and we want to say we appreciate their security.”

The Mitzvah Morning Program was started by Rebbetzin Karen Hochberg in 2014. Though she and her husband have now retired, her beautiful mitzvah program continues to shine in our community. Mrs. Yael Schreiber and her committee at the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates are carrying on this inspiring program.

The following are some comments from participants of this month’s Mitzvah Morning Program:

One mother noted, “So special that we see each other at mitzvos.”

Another adult pointed out, “It’s meaningful, and it brings families together. It brings attention to young kids about helping charities.”

“Kids jump at the idea of doing chesed!”

“It’s a good way to spend a Sunday morning.”

Rabbi Dov Lerner, rav of the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates, participated with his two pre-school children.

This particular program was in honor of Ava Reschke’s bat mitzvah. What a perfect lesson for a bat mitzvah girl to do chesed in honor of her bat mitzvah!

So far this year, the Mitzvah Morning Program created Chanukah boxes for Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehab Center. They also made baskets for Kosher Troops that were delivered to men serving in the American armed forces.

This wonderful program meets monthly at the shul, and it provides an opportunity for parents, children, and grandparents to work together on a special mitzvah.

Last year, for the mishloach manos Mitzvah Morning Program, close to 70 kids and parents together created beautiful sling bags and filled them with candy, cookies, noisemakers, masks and personalized Purim cards for Jewish members of the US Armed Forces who could not be home for Purim. Councilman Rory Lancman also attended that program.

The Mitzvah Morning Program teaches so many important lessons while creating a fun, creative atmosphere for families to enjoy. You learn you don’t have to get anything to have a good time. Kids feel so good about helping others. It creates love and positive feelings.

Some of the previous programs include: mishloach manos for Jewish members of the Armed Forces, crafting friendship bracelets for Israeli soldiers, creating gifts for the children in the Jewish community in Uganda, creating special mugs filled with tea or cocoa of chocolate candies as a way of saying thank you to the 107th Police Precinct, creating a giant menorah of canned goods and donating it to Masbia Soup Kitchen, manning a lemonade stand in Jamaica Estates and earning over $900 dollars for Alex’s Lemonade Stand fund, whose mission is research for childhood cancer, creating friendship folders for children in Jewish schools in France with stickers and sayings of support and love from America, making pizzas and salad and serving them to ladies from Beis Ezra right in the shul, and crafting New Year’s cards for unaffiliated Jews. They also packaged 100 new year’s packages for the elderly or unaffiliated. And they also created puppets for Puppets for Peace Organization. They made puppets for children in Southern Israel. They created heavenly hats for kids with cancer, and they decorated 100 hats that brought a smile to ill children and adults.

Hashem should continue to bless the participants and this amazing program in our midst.

 By Susie Garber