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Sunday, March 24 , 2019, 2:58 pm | A Few Clouds 63º


Congregation B’nai B’rith Celebrates Mitzvah Day

Rwandan genocide survivor shares the story of his Ubumwe center for the disabled

Every year the members of Congregation B’nai B’rith and the broader Jewish community come together and engage in the Jewish practice of mitzvot, or doing good deeds.

Mitzvah Day is a community-wide day of service. This year, Congregation B’nai B’rith held its Mitzvah Day on Sunday.

In addition to the service projects, the temple welcomed Frederick Ndabaramiye, visiting from Rwanda. Ndabaramiye is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, and founder of the Ubumwe center serving the disabled. He was in Santa Barbara discussing his dreams of adding a preschool to the center.

In an effort to raise money to build the preschool, Congregation B’nai B’rith sold crafts made by the people at the Ubumwe center. All proceeds went toward establishing the preschool.

Last year, more than 300 people participated in Mitzvah Day. There are projects for every age and interest, from toddlers to seniors.

Some of the projects include beach cleanups, providing meals for the homeless, making care packages for foster children, gardening and donating blood. Mitzvah Day projects are not only an opportunity for community members to get their hands dirty and do some work, but also an opportunity to learn. Several projects are geared toward education about issues or causes, including learning about poverty and homelessness, challenges in developing countries, the environment and the earth.

— Rose Cohen is the program and membership coordinator for Congregation B’nai B’rith.

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