• I believe this to be a Chesed/Kindness project that is different to anything ever tried before.
• I believe this to be a unique opportunity to reach out to our non-Jewish friends and neighbours
• I believe this to be a way to gather together masses of Jewish people, regardless of level of observance and practice and of all ages, performing an act of Chesed like never before.
• I believe this project could completely change the perspective Jewish people have on Christmas Day – on a day most are away from their work and regular commitments and have the time to engage. So many other ideas and initiatives battle with a modern day family’s hugely busy schedule.
In just 2 years, the project has grown manifold – from one family to over 550 people participating. Those 550 people brought joy and thanks to hundreds more recipients. The recipients were blown away by this initiative, and the volunteers themselves felt an unprecedented sense of community spirit, passion and pride.
Particularly impressive achievements were in the following areas:
Turnout was higher than anticipated – because this is a project that created genuine excitement in the community and galvanised them like no other project previously had.
The multi-generational aspect of the project was incredibly special – babies in prams, children, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents coming together to give to others and to show their appreciation for society around them.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were completely overtaken with messages of hope, love and pride at what was happening.
The project is very simple to duplicate and with the help of Matanel, we believe it can be rolled out across the UK.
The model will remain the same – volunteers from communities across the UK will come together to distribute thanks and food packages to those who provide vital services in our society.
The infrastructure of the Office of the Chief Rabbi will enable us to expand the model to all of the Chief Rabbi’s communities.
In order to duplicate it across the UK, we will need:
• To pay for the staff costs of £25,000
• Technology (via an app. and website) for the project: £10,000
Communities will sign up via an app/website.
Volunteering opportunities will be uploaded.
Volunteers can sign up for what they want to take part in (i.e. collection, preparation, distribution, volunteer management etc.)
• Gifts to distribute (chocolate works well, as the recipients can enjoy the gift socially together in the staff room, stimulating conversations linked to the project) £25,000
TODA is an initiative of Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, based on a project created Alby Chait, Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation Synagogue in Leeds, England.
On Christmas Day in 2018, Alby together with his family decided to visit their local fire station, police station and the maternity ward at the local Hospital – and delivered a big hamper of cakes and food, to show thanksgiving for the incredible and dedicated service that is provided over the holiday period.
In 2019, Alby embarked on taking this initiative to the masses. Recognising the impact that this project could have, Alby aimed to develop the project to demonstrate a kind, compassionate and thankful Jewish community.
By inviting the whole synagogue community to participate and taking this model beyond the emergency services, 550 people joined Alby in visiting nearly 150 locations across Leeds – Homeless Shelters, Hospices, Residential Homes, Care Homes, Pharmacies, Womens’ Shelters, Childrens’ Care Services and many others.
These visits gave a message of thanks, from the Jewish community, to those working and serving the city on Christmas Day.
Building on the success of this project so far, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis will develop this project into a nationwide initiative. This project will be delivered by the Office of the Chief Rabbi.
This year, on 25th December, all UK Jewish communities under the Chief Rabbi’s aegis will come together to say TODA – thank you – to those professionals who cannot join their families over Christmas as they are busy working, taking care of people, whether staff in hospitals, the ambulance service, police force, care homes, amongst others.
Synagogues will galvanise their members, comprising tens of thousands of people across the UK, who will volunteer to distribute gifts of beautifully presented chocolate boxes to express Hakarat Hatov, gratitude and appreciation, for all the work these professionals carry out.
This project will unite the Jewish people in a massive volunteering and giving drive on one day, in partnership with many charities, organisations and communities.
A pure opportunity to be grateful and give back this Winter.
Impacting the Jewish community.
Impacting the wider community.