BLOOMFIELD HILLS (WWJ) — While Christians in metro Detroit will be celebrating Christmas this week, many Jews will be taking part in Mitzvah Day.

In Jewish terms, a mitzvah is a good deed. So on Christmas Day, many Jews will be volunteering at  local charities to help feed the homeless, clothe the poor and gather together to give back to the community.

Janet Berman is a co-chair of Mitzvah Day and she said that this day has become a tradition in Metro Detroit and now across the country.

“The idea was hatched, I’d say, somewhere between 20 and 30 years ago here in the Detroit area,” Berman said. “Now you do find Mitzvah Days all over the country. A lot of times you will find stories even in other countries — we’ve seen them in Australia, we’ve seen it even in Lebanon.”

Drawing on the shared value of community service, nearly 1,000 Jewish volunteers will be joined for the sixth year by their Muslim neighbors to take part in mitzvahs, aiding Detroit area social service agencies at 43 different community sites on Christmas Day.

Berman said that the organization is always looking for more community volunteers.

“We’ll be in soup kitchens, we’ll be at assisted living centers, we’ll be at nursing homes,” Berman said. “We’re at all types of shelters, delivering toys For Jimmy’s Kids — it’s a huge one and he needs a lot of people to deliver these toys that he has rounded up.”

If you’d be interested in volunteering for Mitzvah Day, you can call the Jewish Community Relations Council at 248-642-5393.

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