Members of faith communities in Bradford and Leeds worked in collaboration for this year’s Mitzvah Day, the annual Jewish community-led day of social action, which took place across the country on Sunday November 21, which was also the final day of ‘Interfaith Week’ 2021.
The initiative was co-ordinated by Simon Phillips, Director of Interfaith for the Leeds Jewish Representative Council, and Jenny Ramsden, Interfaith Advisor to the Diocese of Leeds, in partnership with Kaneez Khan from Wellsprings Together and Humayun Islam from the BEAP Community Partnership.
This year’s theme was ‘Together This Mitzvah Day’, and in the run up to Mitzvah Day a range of faith institutions, community organisations and individuals from the Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Christian faith traditions donated a wide range of items to support two local domestic abuse charities.
On Mitzvah Day itself members from diverse faith communities from across Bradford and Leeds gathered together at the BEAP Community Partnership in Manningham, Bradford, to sort and pack the donated goods, which were then delivered to ‘Staying Put’ and ‘Leeds Women’s Aid’.
The Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Toby Howarth, and MP Alex Sobel were both in attendance.
Bishop Toby said: “Today has been a wonderful example of how our diverse faith communities in Bradford and Leeds work so well together to meet the needs of vulnerable people in our communities”.
Kaneez Khan said: “I am so grateful for these relationships and for these really giving organisations for what they’ve done for us”.
Jenny said: “I also want to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the many individuals from all different faiths who donated one, two or a few items in what are difficult times for many – seeing them all added together just shows that people doing little things, with love, genuinely makes a big difference”.
Georgina Bye, Chief Executive of Mitzvah Day, said, “This was a tremendous joint effort from so many people and a testament to your incredible communities.”
Rebecca Heeley, from ‘Staying Put’, who received half of the donations given, said: “Domestic and sexual abuse, is, sadly, on the rise.
“In West Yorkshire alone police recorded 52,696 Domestic Abuse crimes, which represents 17% of all recorded crimes.
“Victims of abuse need a great deal of help and support to recover and go on to lead independent lives.
“They need a helping hand, kind words, someone they can talk to who won’t judge; and they need practical help; help with finances, help to set up new homes when they’re ready.
“Often, it’s the small but essential things that are overlooked and this is where your help is so very valuable and so sincerely appreciated.
“With your wonderful help and support, you can feel justifiably proud that you’re helping us to help people to move on, to regain some of what they’ve lost, to start a new life.