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Timeless Concept, New Technology: A Legacy of Mitzvah Campaigns
Shimon Schnaider Z”L, was a Colombian Jew of few words but significant impact. Fiercely committed to his Yiddishkeit, he worked tirelessly to instill his values of Yiras Shamayim and kindness in his four daughters. Raised by his parents in the spiritually desolate atmosphere of post-war South America without the privilege of receiving a complete Jewish education, he nevertheless did his utmost to practice Mitzvos to the best of his knowledge.
In the aftermath of his passing 16 years ago, his children were searching for a fitting way to pay tribute to his memory. During the Shivah, his daughter Rachel Benchimol, a Shlucha in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, had a novel idea: To encourage people to sign up and commit to fulfilling a mitzvah, any mitzvah, to honor his memory. Together with her sisters, she was able to enlist many community members in a project they called the “Mitzvah Fun” in memory of their late father.
Initially, Rachel viewed the Mitzvah campaign as people’s way of paying tribute to her father. Yet as time passed, she noticed how the Mitzvah pledges were improving the quality of the people’s lives. Men and women were finding more meaning in their daily routines, and the growth in one area of Yiddishkeit had spilled over into others. All through the power of one Mitzvah.
“At the beginning, people used to ask me what Mitzvah they should pledge, but I was reluctant to tell them. I felt that it was important that people do what they connect with, and that even if they can’t immediately identify what that is, they will ultimately know what to do ” Rachel says. “The results of this campaign have been remarkable! One person told me he started wearing Tzitzis daily – and wears them to this day.
“Another young mother shared with me her challenge: she was too overwhelmed with caring for her children. She could not carve out any time to dedicate to a new mitzvah. So she decided that before getting out of bed every day, she would take a few seconds to recite Modeh Ani. Those short moments each morning had a remarkable impact. She continued growing in her Yiddishkeit and ultimately impacted her whole family.”
This year, in honor of her birthday, Rachel wanted to mark the occasion by harnessing a mitzvah’s power to transform people’s lives. But this time, it was no longer necessary to do so through emails, letters and spreadsheets. She was able to use OneMitzvah’s newly launched mitzvah-raising platform. After she launched her campaign, the response and engagement was overwhelming. From London to Israel, old friends and acquaintances were taking upon themselves to light Shabbos candles and give Tzedakah, thus reawakening connections that had been dormant for years.
A project of the Moshiach Office at Merkos 302, OneMitzvah is a platform that enables anyone to begin a “Mitzvah raising campaign” online. All that’s necessary is to visit the website, launch a campaign in an easy set-up process, and share the link to a personal Mitzvah campaign page.
“The interface is user-friendly and it’s easy to keep track of people’s Mitzvah pledges. It also greatly expands the campaign’s reach as anyone can visit the page from anywhere in the world. This has encouraged other community members to create their own teams, getting their friends and family to participate,” says Rachel.
“This project seeks to amplify the Rebbe’s message about the transformative power of one mitzvah to radically change the world,” says Rabbi Shlomie Naparstek, director of the Moshiach Office at Merkos 302. “As an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the Rebbe’s message regarding the immanence of Moshiach’s arrival and the necessary actions to bring that about, it is our goal to promote this idea through the creative use of technology.”
The platform is open to all, and features unique templates for lifecycle events such as birthdays, bar-mitzvahs and yahrzeits. It seeks to infuse more meaning into these momentous events by channeling the goodwill of family and friends in the most spiritually constructive manner.
“This project has touched countless people and testifies to the immense good that the proper use of modern technology can accomplish,” says Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch. “We pray that the mitzvos generated through these campaigns will create a ripple effect, leading to more and more mitzvos, until the whole world will be positively transformed with the coming of Moshiach.”
For Rachel, the Mitzvah campaign started as a way to pay tribute to her father, but it has grown into something much bigger. She hopes that the mitzvahs generated through these campaigns will create a ripple effect and positively transform the world.
Visit OneMitzvah.org to start your own campaign today.
Click here to message Merkos 302 on Whatsapp for any questions, comments, or sponsorship opportunities.
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