Share This Page

700 Jewish volunteers turn out to do good deeds on Christmas in W.Pa.

| Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012, 10:34 p.m.
Casey Bloom 6, gets some help from her mother, Alona Bloom, both of Squirrel Hill, while making sock monkeys to be given to sick children at Children’s Hospital. More than 650 volunteers from the Jewish community volunteered at 60 sites throughout Pittsburgh in the 12th Annual Mitzvah Day sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Jordan Kraut, 15, of the Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh tries to thread a needle while making sock monkeys to be given to sick children at Children’s Hospital. More than 650 volunteers from the Jewish community volunteered at 60 sites throughout Pittsburgh in the 12th Annual Mitzvah Day sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review

Naida Kanter spent a couple of hours on Tuesday making peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill to feed children who otherwise might not have enough to eat.

“The Jewish tradition is to help others,” said Kanter, 69, of Monroeville. “That's what a mitzvah is: to do a good deed.”

About 700 volunteers of the Jewish faith spread out across 70 sites in Allegheny County and into Washington County for the annual Mitzvah Day of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, helping thousands in Western Pennsylvania.

Activities included visiting the elderly, delivering gifts to hospital patients, helping animals and preparing items for local food pantries.

“Growing up Jewish, you're going to go to the movies and eat Chinese food” on Christmas Day, said Jenny Jones, the federation's volunteer center coordinator. “To give 700 people the opportunity and the experience to give back to the community is priceless.”

“We do this to make HaShem (God) happy,” said Rachel Leah Davis, 67, of Jerusalem, who was visiting her parents, Bob, 91, and Phyllis Davis, 88, of Squirrel Hill. “He would be jumping up and down.”

The Davises also made sandwiches that were distributed to Light of Life Rescue Mission in the North Side and other agencies that help needy children. Many families participated in the events, with parents saying that volunteering would reinforce the spirit of doing good to pass onto generations to come.

Across the hall from the sandwich-making, people picked up needles, thread and socks to make sock monkeys for patients in Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville

“It builds character,” said Yaakov Kamensky, 16, a 10th-grader at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill. “You're helping kids out, making kids happy.”

Volunteers cooked and served up ham, corn pudding, hash browns and other fixings at the Rainbow Kitchen in Homestead, giving those who are homeless or alone for the holiday the chance to enjoy a hot meal.

“It's wonderful that they would take time out of their own lives to volunteer and help people, no matter who they are,” Homestead Mayor Betty Esper said.

As he ate a plate of waffles, Mike Kraly, 53, of Homestead said, “I appreciate what people do for people who have nothing. They're making sure people have a good day for the holiday.”

Bill Vidonic is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He canbe reached at 412-380-5621or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.