A Boy Scout said he hopes the day of good deeds he organized at Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim will help him earn his wings.
Micah Lubow, 14 and a member of the Jewishly oriented Boy Scout Troop 118, organized the June 20 Mitzva Day. Some 75 people volunteered for a range of social action projects, including a blood drive, a walkathon for Haiti relief, and a greeting card “factory” for United States soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Micah said he hopes the project will help him earn the rank of Eagle Scout, which requires the candidate to conceive of, design, and carry out a “significant” service project for an organization other than the Boy Scouts.
His Mitzva Day served as part of the Cranford congregation’s Find a Spark social action campaign, a program initiated a few years ago by Micah’s father, Rabbi Akiba Lubow.
“It was exciting to see so many people participating in social action projects,” said Micah. “A big part of Scouting is learning how to venture out on your own and become independent and a leader. This really tested my abilities to plan and manage a social action project of this magnitude.”
He scheduled the event from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., so families could work together and still have time to celebrate Father’s Day. Also, in honor of the dads present, the volunteers were treated to a pizza lunch.
Volunteers made over 700 peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches for a soup kitchen in Elizabeth, and baked “mitzva cookies” for homebound seniors and residents of nursing homes.
Boy Scout Troop 118 is chartered to Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union, where Micah is a rising sophomore. Established in 1995, the troop — which currently has 14 members — follows Schechter’s guidelines for Shabbat observance, kashrut, and Jewish activities. The troop is led by Mike Schatzberg. His wife, Rabbi Lisa Vernon, is assistant Scout master.
“We do all the things that any other Boy Scout troop does, with a Jewish flavor,” Vernon said. “Our Scouts daven every morning on camping trips, are shomer Shabbat in their activities, have two mess kits, and eat only kosher food when involved with Scouts, and they learn about Jewish life as well as all the other things a Boy Scout does.”
“There is a lot to an Eagle Scout project,” said Vernon. “According to the Boy Scouts of America, fewer than 4 percent of all boys who are scouts make it to the rank of Eagle. It is widely understood to be a very prestigious accomplishment.”