For Muslims, Jews, a Day of Helping

Muslim and Jewish girl

I had forgotten about Mitzvah Day. A wonderful example of Jews and Christians doing good deeds on behalf of each other. Now, Muslims in

From, with a nod to

Mary Turfah bent over a box of dry goods at Gleaners Food Bank in Pontiac this morning hunting for items to include in the food box she was assembling for needy people in the region, her green hijab held firmly in place.

The 15-year-old Dearborn Heights resident was among an estimated 40 local Muslims participating in the metro-Detroit’s Jewish community’s annual Mitzvah Day, the volunteer program held every Christmas. The tradition — mitzvah means “good deed” — enables Christians to stay home and enjoy the holiday, while those not celebrating help with social-service projects in southeastern Michigan.

It was the first time Muslims joined the 18-year-old effort, invited by the Jewish Community Relations Council to create an interfaith opportunity.

“Doing a mitzvah, a good deed, is not a Jewish thing. It’s not a Muslim thing. It’s a human thing,” said Michael Benghiat of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

Very moving.