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Mitzvah Day 2018: Redbridge volunteers take part in #ChickenSoupChallenge and donate gifts

PUBLISHED: 18:01 19 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:54 20 November 2018

Muslim Council of Britain General Secretary Harun Khan, a Wanstead Resident, joins the collection at Redbridge Jewish Care Centre, in Woodford Bridge Road with Redbridge United Synagogue. Photo: Keith Gold

Muslim Council of Britain General Secretary Harun Khan, a Wanstead Resident, joins the collection at Redbridge Jewish Care Centre, in Woodford Bridge Road with Redbridge United Synagogue. Photo: Keith Gold

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From feeding the homeless with freshly-brewed chicken soup to gathering gifts for charity, dozens of Redbridge volunteers took part in Mitzvah Day.

Wohl Ilford Jewish Primary School pupils danced for residents at Jewish Care's Vi and John Rubens House, in Clarence Avenue, in Ilford. Photo: Karen ZetterWohl Ilford Jewish Primary School pupils danced for residents at Jewish Care's Vi and John Rubens House, in Clarence Avenue, in Ilford. Photo: Karen Zetter

Mitzvah Day, of which the Recorder is a media partner, took place on Sunday (November 18).

The borough’s volunteers were among more than 40,000 across the globe taking part in hosting teas and lunches for refugees, donating clothes and food, cleaning cemeteries, parks and more.

The day aims to bring together people of different ages, faiths and walks of life to improve the community.

Among those participating was a team of six volunteers from the the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue (Elels), in Marlborough Road, South Woodford, including Rabbi Richard Jacobi and chair Stewart Spivack.

Resident Gertrude Stevens dances with home manager Momarr Camara at a Mitzvah Day event at Vi and John Rubens House, in Clarence Avenue, Ilford. Photo: Yakir ZurResident Gertrude Stevens dances with home manager Momarr Camara at a Mitzvah Day event at Vi and John Rubens House, in Clarence Avenue, Ilford. Photo: Yakir Zur

The group joined others of all faiths and none at the scout hall in Wood Street, Walthamstow, to take part in the “#ChickenSoupChallenge” to feed the homeless on Sunday.

“Chicken soup is often known as ‘Jewish penicillin’ for its nurturing and medicinal properties,” said Simon Rothstein, of charity Mitzvah Day.

“Soup also has significance for Muslims, as there is a prophetic tradition which encourages Muslims to water down broth, so there is always enough to share with neighbours.”

On Saturday (November 17), two of the synagogue’s volunteers also delivered more than 250 items of dry food goods, toiletries, clothes and cards made by Saturday school pupils.

Rabbi Richard Jacobi and five other volunteers from the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue prepared and distributed chicken soup to the homeless. Photo: Waltham Forest Faith Communities ForumRabbi Richard Jacobi and five other volunteers from the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue prepared and distributed chicken soup to the homeless. Photo: Waltham Forest Faith Communities Forum

Pupils at Wohl Ilford Jewish Primary School, in Forest Road, Barkingside, collected toys, games, food and more for charities Lupus UK, Camp Simcha, Onechild Ghana and Redbridge Food Bank.

They then danced at an event held at Jewish Care’s Vi & John Rubens House care home, in Clarence Avenue, Gants Hill.

Tenants and staff at a home run by charity Jewish Blind & Disabled also collected items for charity Give It Forward Today (GIFT).

Mitzvah Day began as a day of Jewish social action 10 years ago but has now become a fully interfaith event.

Laura Marks OBE, founder and chair of Mitzvah Day, said: “Mitzvah Day is all about bringing people together through social action to fulfil the real need in today’s world of breaking down barriers.”

For more details, visit mitzvahday.org.uk

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