October 2007

Top Stories
• Jewish Silence on Iraq
• Progressive Jews Act
• Ulpan 101
• Strategy Vs. Terrorism
• Crimes On Democracy
• Jews Choose Dems
• Too Early To Pander
• NJDC Blasts Moran
• German Workers
• Letters to the Editor

In Their Own Words
• Rep. Duncan Hunter

Networking Central
• Mitzvah Food Pantry 

Raising A Mensch
• Conceptual Detour

• Jews Paint By Number
• Israeli Politicals Confs.
• Akiba Name Change
• Citizenship
• Okinawa High Holidays

Living Judaism
• Soferet

The Kosher Table
• Singapore Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant

Free Subscription

Past Issues
2008 J


    Email This     About     Subscription     Donate     Contact     Links     Archives  

Proposed mural to adorn the wall of Taggeart Elementary School. Designed by Barbara Smolen. 

250 Jews To Paint By Numbers
Dozens of Mitzvah projects October 21 throughout Philadelphia area.

-- Gabrielle J. Loeb

"Each blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers 'Grow, grow.'"

Muralist Barbara Smolen was inspired by this quote from the Midrash Rabah when she designed a 27 x 49-foot mural that will be painted on October 21 by the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program during the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia's Mitzvah Mania Day.

Smolen's mural will be painted on the wall of Taggart Elementary School in South Philadelphia. The site is significant because of its proximity to the Jewish Community Center's Stiffel Senior Center and because of South Philadelphia's historical importance to Jewish immigration and Jewish life in the city.

Some More Mitzvah Mania Day projects throughout the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area.

  • Rebuilding Together Philadelphia: Our version of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition". Rebuild and repair the homes of 10 Jewish seniors and help them remain vibrant in their homes.
  • Fairmont Park: Visit one of 20 locations and spruce up the nation's finest city park.
  • American Red Cross: Be a part of the Jewish repsonse to emergency needs and donate blood at one of nine sites to help contribute 613 pints in one day.
  • Rock the House Dance-a-Thon: Teens raise money for Jewish relief organizations in the Greater Philadelphia area and overseas.
  • Family Mitzvah Thon: Come together with other preschool and school-age familes to create and deliver gifts to local Jewish seniors.
  • Spin a Big Yarn: Join knitters at the Golden Slipper Center to create hats and lap blankets. Seniors will teach kids if needed. Spool knitting supplies availalbe.
  • Mitzvah Food Pantry: Sort over 40,000 pounds of food donated by synagogues. (See Networking Central.)
  • Jewish Relief Agency: Deliver food and smile to 2,100 Jewish families in need. (See Networking Central.)
  • Jewish Mama Soup-a-Rama: Enter this kosher soup--making contest to benefit homebound senior recipients of the JCC's Cook for a Friend program.
  • Basketball Tournament for Tzedakah: Teens and adults face off at the Kaiserman JCC
  • Clean a Jewish Cemetary: Beth David is custodian of the nearly abandoned Gladwyne Jewish Cemetary. Volunteers are needed to clean, weed, rake and repair.
  • Register Online.

The abstract mural, designed by Smolen with input from the elementary school and the community, will depict colorful butterflies, flowers, and leaves. Inspired by the Talmudic quote, which will be painted at the top of the mural, it's intergenerational theme will be depicted by hands from above representing the hands of the seniors or angels reaching down to protect the hands of children, which will rise from the bottom. In addition, the mural will have the word "grow" in all of the languages represented by the children at the school -- English, Spanish, Italian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Tagalog, Urdu, Hindi, Farsi, Yiddish, Hebrew, Arabic and Lao.

Smolen said she enjoyed searching for the word in the various languages, which was not as simple as using "Google translator." Her goal was for the languages to be as accurate and numerous as possible so that everyone in the community would have their language, country, and ethnicity represented by the mural.

On Mitzvah Mania Day, 250 volunteers of all ages are expected to help paint the mural, including students and the residents of the nearby Senior Center --bringing the intergenerational theme of the mural to life. The mural design will be projected onto panels of parachute cloth, which will then be painted. These five-by-five foot panels will then be assembled like a quilt and fixed to the wall with acrylic gel, similar to the way wallpaper is applied. In addition to facilitating the painting for volunteers, this method will allow painting to proceed regardless of weather.

Mural painters need no artistic talent, and anyone is encouraged to participate. The painters will use a paint-by-numbers technique and even those who do not wish to paint can help by getting paint for others, cleaning up, setting up, and rinsing brushes.

In addition to the mural, the Jewish Federation is planning many other Mitzvah Mania community service projects, including park clean-ups, blood drives, a dance-a-thon, a cooking contest, delivering food to those in need, and rebuilding houses for elderly Jewish community residents.

To find out more about the activities available and to register to participate, visit the Mitzvah Mania Website.

Did you enjoy this article?

If so,

  • share it with your friends so they do not miss out on this article,
  • subscribe (free), so you do not miss out on the next issue,
  • donate (not quite free but greatly appreciated) to enable us to continue providing this free service.

If not,