Noticing Judgments

Samara Angel
2012- Nevei Kodesh

Noticing Judgements

Here’s what she did:

Samara Angel, a 7th grader living in Boulder was at a swimming pool with people of various colors, shapes and sizes when she realized she was judging many of them. That’s when she knew what her service project would be about.

Samara will be called to read from the Torah on May 5th, marking her entry as an adult member of the Jewish community. The Bat Mitzvah (for girls or Bar Mitzvah for boys), the rite of passage event in a Jewish child’s life is the culmination of years of preparation, including learning to read and chant Hebrew. Part of this process includes doing a “mitzvah project” to help change the world, which usually involves getting involved in an already established charity or social cause.

A couple of people I know have serious illnesses or disabilities, and I thought how hard it must be to feel like you were being judged,” Samara explains. “That day at the pool, I realized how many judgments I was having about everything and everyone.”

From this seed of an idea, came a unique project called, “Noticing Judgments” – a website that Samara created asking people to take a pledge to notice their judgments. People who pledge are guided through an 18-day program where they are directed to notice specific judgments every 2 days (via email reminders and links to the website). Topics range from categorizing judgments, to body size, to race and ethnicity, to refraining from doing something for fear of judgments.

When Samara starting thinking of names for her website, she thought of “Stop Judgments” and “No Judgments” but realized that wouldn’t be accurate. “We all judge – and we all feel judged. It’s impossible to make them go away, but we can become aware of our judgments.”

Marisa Kaiser of Los Angeles, California took the pledge and has learned more about herself during the process. “It’s inspiring to be taken through the steps to become aware of your actions and belief systems.” So far, over 200 people have taken the pledge – not just from Boulder. Word has spread – through email and posts on Facebook. People have signed up to notice their judgments from coast to coast – from California to New York, Alaska to Florida; there are even pledges from France, Switzerland and Africa. Samara’s goal is to get at least 500 people to take the pledge. Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, spiritual leader of Nevei Kodesh, a Jewish Renewal Congregation in Boulder has known Samara since she was 5 years old and is working with her as she prepares for her Bat Mitzvah.

This is such an important project – for adults and kids alike. I hope everyone will join Samara and take the pledge to notice their judgments. Awareness of how we judge others and ourselves can make us more loving and aware human beings.”

To learn more or sign up for the 18 day challenge, please visit the Noticing Judgements website.

Posted: April 23rd, 2012 under Raise Awareness - No Comments. Tags: , ,

Guide Dogs for the Blind

Ellie Shiovitz
2012- Bonai Shalom

Guide Dogs for the Blind

Here’s what she did:

For my mitzvah project my mom and I are co-raising a puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Every day, I have to feed the puppy and teach her to wait patiently for her food; walk the puppy and teach her to walk nicely by my side; and groom/handle the puppy and make sure she is okay being touched all over so that she will be comfortable with her blind person and when going to the vet. We have to potty train the puppy, eventually teaching her to relieve on command. We have to socialize her and get her used to a variety of different places. We have to make sure she is comfortable traveling on buses, trains, planes, and in cars. We have to familiarize her with elevators, automatic doors and have her comfortable walking next to crowds of people, bikes, skateboards, construction, etc. We also have to train her to not be food or dog distracted. My favorite part is that we get to love her and play with her and provide a warm stable environment for her. We will have Kaelyn for 12-14 months. After that, we will return her to the school in California where she will train for another 3 months and then with the blind person she is assigned to for another month before going to live with them. I know training and raising a puppy will be hard work, but I know I am up to the challenge!

Posted: April 23rd, 2012 under Chesed - No Comments. Tags: , ,

Adopt Nova the Fox

Alex Litz
2011 – Beth Ami

Wild Animal Sanctuary

Here’s what Alex did:

Adopting Nova will provide his food, medical help, toys and care for one year. Nova was found when he was just a couple of weeks old wandering by himself. His mother had abandoned him because his eyes were severly damaged. A rehabilitation facility in Nebraska tried to raise him and restore his vision but Nova’s eyes kept getting infected and finally ruptured. The Sanctuary took him to their veterinarian who removed his eyes so Nova would not suffer any further. Nova reminded me of my dog Macey who is blind and had one of his eyes surgically removed. If you would like to support Nova’s care, contact Wild Animal Sanctuary. 

Posted: September 14th, 2011 under Raise Money - 1 Comment. Tags: , ,

How to post your project

One of the techno-savvy young members of our community created this video for the Mitzvah Project Directory – as his mitzvah project! Check out the video to see how easy it is to submit your project. Thanks to Benjamin Saltz for his work!

Watch Video

Posted: July 11th, 2011 under Raise Awareness - No Comments.

Locks of Love

Randi Velick
2011 – Temple Emanuel
Locks of Love –

Here’s what Randi did:

Randi grew her hair for several years until it was long enough to donate. She donated over 14″ of hair and her sister did too! Click here to see the Boulder Jewish News article.

Posted: February 3rd, 2011 under Health - No Comments. Tags: , ,

Therapy Dogs

2006 – Har HaShem

Therapy Dogs International

Here’s what Lauren did:
First, I took our dog, Tasha, to get qualified as a Therapy Dog. Then, I arranged to visit Sunrise Assisted Living once every 2 weeks with Tasha. We went through the different areas of the facility and Tasha would sit next to the seniors and let them pet her while I made conversation with them. Many of them used to have dogs and were very happy to see her!

Posted: January 10th, 2011 under Chesed - No Comments. Tags: , ,