DO I HAVE TO BE JEWISH TO DO CHAI MITZVAH?
IS CHAI MITZVAH PART OF A PARTICULAR DENOMINATION?
Anyone is welcome to participate in Chai Mitzvah. The purpose of the program is to explore one’s own unique Jewish life. Chai Mitzvah is non-denominational, and accommodates for any style of practice. Chai Mitzvah is appropriate for interfaith study.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS OF CHAI MITZVAH?
We only ask two things of Chai Mitzvah participants: Attend a monthly study session using our source books (and/or supplements) focusing on the topic assigned to each month and build your “Jewish Bucket List” by incorporating study, spirituality, social action.
DO I HAVE TO BE A MEMBER OF A CONGREGATION?
No. Any group of friends/family that wants to engage in a creative, meaningful journey to discover and develop a deeper Jewish identity is perfect for Chai Mitzvah. Currently Chai Mitzvah can be found within congregations as well as within JCCs, Federations and independent groups.We invite you to unleash your imagination! Think about the groups in which you are involved: a book group, a breakfast group, a support group, an exercise group... How about infusing some Judaism in them?
You can even be part of a “virtual” Chai Mitzvah group –
meet through Skype or FaceTime each month for the topic sessions, and pursue your
individual projects on your own time, wherever you are.
CAN I JUST ATTEND THE MONTHLY LEARNING SESSIONS?
No. Chai Mitzvah’s unique program is designed to engage Jewish living beyond the classroom. Our tradition tells us that a full Jewish life involves spirituality and community, in addition to study. So we ask participants to take part in all aspects of the program to fully experience their Chai Mitzvah year.
CAN WE START A GROUP ANYTIME OF THE YEAR?
Yes. Chai Mitzvah groups can be formed at any time, but there is an order to the topics. So, no matter when you begin, or where you are in the world, each month every participant is learning the same topic for communal study. This allows Chai Mitzvah to create a global conversation and links individuals across the Jewish world together.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
If your group is based in an organization (synagogue, JCC, etc.) there is an annual registration fee of $72 for as many groups as you want to run within that organization. Additionally, the materials fee for each person is $25 for the year.
If you are forming a group outside of an institutional setting, for example, a friends' group or a book club, the registration and materials fee is $36 per person for the year.
In both cases you receive supplemental materials throughout the year. Each participant will receive a certificate of completion, and a tree planted in their honor by Jewish National Fund. Of course, you will have access to Chai Mitzvah staff for all questions. Participants will also be part of a network where, through social media and our proprietary forums, they will be able to share and enrich their experiences.
IS THERE A SECOND YEAR OF CHAI MITZVAH?
No. Success for Chai Mitzvah is a more Jewishly-engaged community member. Chai Mitzvah is a one-year experience to nurture that engagement. We’ve found that most people continue what they’ve chosen to do during the program; it really makes an impact. Often, groups choose to stay together and study something new, or devote time to a particular cause.
I ALREADY TAKE CLASSES ABOUT JEWISH THINGS. WHY SHOULD I TRY CHAI MITZVAH?
Our tradition teaches that the world stands on three things: study, spirituality, and acts of kindness. Chai Mitzvah provides a structure to explore each of these things both individually and as a community.
CAN I DO CHAI MITZVAH ON MY OWN, OR DO I HAVE TO BE PART OF A GROUP?
There are two aspects to Chai Mitzvah, as there are to Jewish life in general: individual and community. Chai Mitzvah strongly encourages you to attend the monthly learning sessions in addition to doing your personal commitments, so you can get the full Chai Mitzvah experience. If you’re not affiliated with a congregation or other communal organization, gather some friends together and start a group on your own!
HOW OLD DO YOU HAVE TO BE FOR CHAI MITZVAH?
We have programs for adults, teens, and families. Our oldest Chai Mitzvah participant was 101! You are never too old or too young to learn, explore your spirituality, and give back to the community!
I AM VERY BUSY. HOW MUCH TIME DOES CHAI MITZVAH TAKE?The monthly learning session is usually about 60-90 minutes. As for your “Jewish Bucket List,” that is up to you. Chai Mitzvah will fit into however much time you have.
I DON'T HAVE A LOT OF BACKGROUND IN JUDAISM. THERE WILL BE OTHERS WHO KNOW MUCH MORE THAN I DO. CAN I PARTICIPATE ANYWAY?
Yes! You can deepen your Jewish engagement from wherever you are on your own Jewish journey. The texts are all accessible in English, and the discussion topics are designed to engage you, no matter your background. You’ll be choosing your own ritual and social action components of the program, so they’ll meet you exactly where you are.
Chai Mitzvah isn’t about being “learned” ---it’s about learning!
CHAI MITZVAH WANT ME TO TAKE ON A NEW RITUAL.
DOES THAT MEAN I HAVE TO BECOME MORE RELIGIOUS?
No. There are lots of ways to bring spirituality into your life. Chai Mitzvah is about exploring your Jewish spiritual side, making it more meaningful.