EIGHT NIGHTS OF IMPACT
In honor of Hanukkah, here is our impact as eight brightly shining candles.
“A Mitzvah to Eat has helped me enormously in feeling that I have a place in the Jewish community even though my disabilities and neurodiversity have made it hard to live a life of Torah and mitzvot as I would like. I also think that without A Mitzvah to Eat, I would not have had the courage to break my fast on Yom Kippur when I was showing symptoms of lithium toxicity and I would have made myself very ill (or worse) as a result.”
- Community Member Testimonial
In 2022, we compiled a prayer guide with 6 prayers and rituals for those needing to eat on Yom Kippur. We weren’t sure how wide our reach would be.
In 2022, our prayer guide had a reach of 20,000 on social media.
By 2023, our prayer guide reached 85,000 people on social media.
Our work was inspired by our founder’s experience with needing to eat on Yom Kippur and other fast days. That’s the reason for our name. But we very quickly realized that our work was needed in many other ways. So we created resources for those needing accommodations for Sukkot, Chanukah, Purim, Pesach, Shavuot, Shabbat, and Yom Tov, with much more to come!
"The support from A Mitzvah to Eat has been invaluable for me as a conversion candidate to Liberal Judaism. While rabbis in the various progressive movements are completely supportive of having a mitzvah to eat, there is still a lingering sadness about missing essential parts of the Jewish experience, especially on Yom Kippur. It can be easy to get into a mindset where you feel like a "failed Jew" from the get-go! The community around A Mitzvah to Eat has been wonderful in their support, and in helping me to find ways to fill the Jewish holidays with deep spiritual meaning. I have also recommended A Mitzvah to Eat to others in my conversion class. "
- Community member testimonial
Jews needing accommodations for mitzvot sometimes feel disconnected from Judaism and community. We offer opportunities to connect, listen, and support each other. In 2023, we hosted 17 online gatherings. Our gatherings focused on peer support around how we relate to mitzvot, Jewish practice, and Jewish community. Several gatherings incorporated art creation and text study.
It’s one thing to know that Judaism has an imperative of pikuach nefesh, that life takes precedence, and another thing to actually learn the original sources. Together, our community learned Torah, Talmud, and the Shulchan Aruch (a Jewish legal text) through social media posts and source sheets on our website. These texts showed that needing to eat on Yom Kippur or needing to take a life-saving action on Shabbat have always been part of Jewish tradition.
We are creating a global, pluralistic support network connecting Jews needing accommodations for mitzvot. In our community, Jews of all backgrounds and movements support each other. Our community members live around the world - in the United States, Israel, Canada, Poland, Australia, England, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa, Nigeria, Germany, and more. (Source: Facebook and Instagram demographics).
"Due to many health and mental health challenges, Torah observance is not a one-size-fits-all. I am so grateful for A Mitzvah to Eat for building a community that captures the Torah's essence and brings texts that support what can feel like a lonely path – trying to integrate Torah into specific needs. A Mitzvah to Eat reaches out to anyone who feels a bit on the outside and provides a beautiful inclusive Torah community.”
-Community member testimonal