Beginning at 9:11 a.m. on Sept. 11, Chabad of CSUN held the third Mitzvah Marathon on campus in front of the Matador bookstore.
‘The goal of the marathon was to counteract the terror and evil in the world by performing a good deed,’ said Raizel Brook, one of the coordinators of the event. ‘Memorial services are important, but this is about doing good.’
Raizel and her husband, Rabbi Chaim Brook, oversee the Rohr Chabad House at CSUN and organized the event. Chabad is affiliated with 90 colleges and universities in the United States, many of which held similar events in memorial of 9/11 on Thursday.
For six hours Chabad encouraged volunteers to perform a mitzvah, the Hebrew word that is loosely translated as a good deed in memorial of a victim of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Volunteers could then choose from a list of mitzvahs that included calling a grandparent, donating honey cakes to seniors for Rosh Hashanah, the upcoming Jewish new year,’ saying a prayer for a soldier, donating money to a charity, blood to the Red Cross, or school supplies.
Volunteers filled out a pledge form with the name and photo of someone who died in the 9/11 attacks. If there was a specific person the volunteer wanted to honor, they could fill out a separate form. Once the volunteer preformed the mitzvah, the pledge form was attached to the memorial wall of goodness and kindness.
Of the 1,200 mitzvah pledge forms printed for the event, at least 1,000 were used, $500 was collected and 24 honey cakes were donated.
Donations were also accepted online through the CSUN Chabad Facebook website. Monetary donations will go to a charity organization affiliated with Chabad that helps victims of terrorist attacks in Israel. The school supplies will be donated to the Chabad Hebrew School in Northridge.
Based in Brooklyn, N.Y., the Chabad organization is a sect of Orthodox Judaism that provides religious and social services in hundreds of community centers throughout the world.
‘I feel very connected to it because I was in New York on 9/11 seven years ago,’ said Rabbi Eli Rivkin from Chabad of Northridge.
Kenneth Spector, director of the Smile on Seniors program (SOS), and a Chabad affiliated group, encouraged people to visit local seniors in need of company.
The group currently consists of 10 volunteers who visit about 100 seniors a month in 72 licensed care facilities. In the last year, 11 SOS volunteer groups have been started in the U.S. and Canada through Chabad.
Due to overwhelming responses, more than 100 potential donors had to be turned away, leaving only 80 donations accommodated.
Sherry Nikirk, senior account manager of the Donor Resources Development associated with CSUN,’ said the large turnout was likely due to it being the first time blood mobiles were on campus this semester and because of the encouragement from the Mitzvah Marathon.
Jaclyn Dixson, a math major at CSUN waiting to donate blood said, ‘My mom has cancer. I give every six weeks. They call me and let me know when they are going to be on campus and ask if I want to make an appointment.’ ‘