Twenty-nine parliamentarians from across the political spectrum came together to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Mitzvah Day by taking part in a social action event inside the Houses of Parliament.
Parliamentarians – including Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable, Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, Conservative Party Vice Chairs for Communities Helen Grant and Rehman Chishti and SNP Westminster Group Leader Ian Blackford – packed pencil cases for School Aid, a charity that helps provide educational equipment for children in Africa.
The event, organised by the Board of Deputies and the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews, was sponsored by Wes Streeting MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on British Jews. It marked the start of the month leading up to Mitzvah Day, the UK’s biggest faith-based day of social action. Mitzvah Day has long enjoyed support from across the political divide. Many MPs and councillors will once more take part in activists in their constituencies on, and around, November 18.
Over the last 10 years, Mitzvah Day has seen Jews, Muslims, Christians and people of all faiths, and none, come together in social action. The charity, which was established in 2008, asks people to give their time not their money to help those in need.
This year more than 40,000 volunteers across the globe are expected to take part in projects to help the homeless, elderly, refugees and some of the poorest and most vulnerable in society.
Board of Deputies Vice President Edwin Shuker said: “Social action is a big part of our work, whether it is convening the Jewish Social Action Forum or volunteering to feed the homeless. We are so pleased to support Mitzvah Day, particularly on their tenth anniversary, and to bring together MPs and peers from across the political spectrum, via the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews.”
On Mitzvah Day 2018, more than 40,000 volunteers across the globe are expected to take part in projects to help the homeless, elderly, refugees and some of the poorest and most vulnerable in society.
Mitzvah Day Founder and Chair Laura Marks said: “Mitzvah Day not only sees all of Britain’s different faith groups come together in social action, but it also brings together civil society and Government.
“Mitzvah Day encourages Government to engage in civil society. Over the last 10 years we have seen politicians from all parties and all levels of Government taking part in projects – from the Prime Minister and Mayor of London to local councillors across the length and breadth of the country.”
Vince Cable said: “I was very much inspired by what I saw in Parliament earlier today. Mitzvah Day encourages people of different faiths to come together in a common good cause and has been doing this important and inspiring work for a decade.”
Emily Thornberry said: “I support Mitzvah Day because we are all one big community and we need to make sure that we pay back. Events like this remind us all that everyone is not as lucky as each other and we must always think about helping those less fortunate.”
Laura Marks and Edwin Shuker were joined at the Parliamentary launch by Mitzvah Day’s Interfaith Chair Lady Daniela Pears, Board of Deputies Parliamentary Officer Joel Salmon, School Aid’s UK and Africa Operations Manager Thomas Broom and Daniel Kosky and Grace Diamond from the Union of Jewish Students.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews is the national representative body of the UK’s Jewish community and it provides the secretariat to the APPG on British Jews. As well as combatting antisemitism and promoting religious freedom, it brings the Jewish community together to pursue social action projects.