Mitzvah Day Impact Report Digital version 26th June - Page 22

Mitzvah Day
Impact Report 2008 – 2018
Focus on…Interfaith
Mitzvah Day
Impact Report 2008 – 2018
Focus on…Interfaith
External Evaluation
Key Finding:
Salaam Shalom Kitchen, Sajid Mohammed, Co-founder
Mitzvah Day is celebrated every year in
Nottingham by Salaam Shalom Kitchen
- a partnership between Nottingham
Liberal Synagogue and the social action
charity Himmah – who every Wednesday
work side-by-side at their weekly café
where they invite everyone to eat, talk
and relax. In 2017 they won Mitzvah
Day’s 365 Award.
“Myself and Rabbi Tanya wanted to
establish a counter-narrative, a beacon
for hope. For too long our communities
have been given a narrative of fear,
of division, of “the other” and that’s
not right. We are both longstanding
communities in Nottingham, who love
this country and love this city, and we
want to demonstrate our faith in the
adaqa Day, Sewa
Day, and Jewish festivals
like Purim and Pesach
provide additional touch
points for social action
throughout the year. We also run interfaith
cooking sessions at the start of every year
at JW3 – the Jewish Community Centre in
London, introducing new communities to
one another ahead of Mitzvah Day. These
relationships blossom into partnerships,
partnerships that build networks of
communities that can create more
opportunities enabling more people to play
an active role in the betterment of society.
When tragedy strikes like the Grenfell
Tower fire on June 14th 2017, West London
Synagogue and Al Manaar Mosque, having
been introduced at a Mitzvah Day interfaith
most positive way – it’s about dignity,
service to others and justice, and this is
what we aim to do at the Salaam Shalom
Kitchen. It’s about bringing people together,
building bridges and offering an alternative.
It’s about offering hope in very dark times.
Unfortunately over the last eight years
we’ve seen Nottingham climb up the
indices of social deprivation, according to
the ONS (The Office of National Statistics),
Nottingham is ranked eight. At the same
time we are seeing more people being
lonely and an increase in isolation, so
projects like this are about bringing people
together. People who are struggling to eat,
but giving them dignity, giving them a safe
space where they can have conversations,
where they can get to know each other, and
become friends – what more do you want!”
“I think it’s brilliant! You get tired of
hearing the bad news on television about
what’s going on with Jews and Muslims,
but they don’t see the good side of things,
which is all of this good work that goes on
here. Sometimes there are clothes here
for people, there’s always something to
eat, there’s always a friendly welcome.
And that’s what I think is really sad, you
hear all the bad stuff and you don’t see
the good stuff.”
Brian McMullen
Service User, Salaam Shalom Kitchen
cooking project, already had an open line of
communication and so were better equipped
to take the lead in building a community
response to the disaster. Amongst other
things, their partnership has now produced
an activity camp for young people affected
by the fire, and a coordinated response to
homelessness in their locality.
We believe that interfaith social action
reduces prejudice, encourages people to
invest in their communities and makes
communities more inclusive and resilient.
According to the evaluation conducted by
Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace
and Social Relations, the coming together
of different faiths to perform good deeds,
on such a large scale, is in the UK at least,
unique to Mitzvah Day.
Charlotte Agran, Interfaith Officer
The number of people who felt that
Mitzvah Day successfully promotes
the interfaith agenda. The report
found that Mitzvah Day’s ability
to bring together both Jewish
communities and people from
different faith groups, on such a
large scale, is unique.

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