By: Sharon Aron Baron
If you have ever driven around the Tamarac or Lauderhill area, then you may have spotted this colorful RV on the road.
Known as a “Mitzvah Tank,” this roaming giant travels to various places in Broward County searching for Jews and providing a mitzvah, or good deed, on the spot for people on the go.
For Jewish men, this mitzvah would be to put on Tefillin. Tefillin are two small black boxes with black straps attached to them. Jewish men are required to place one box on their head and tie the other one on their arm each weekday morning. Tefillin are biblical in origin, and are commanded within the context of several laws outlining a Jew’s relationship to God.
For Jewish women, the staff on the Mitzvah Tank offers them a free kit containing a small tin candlestick, a candle, and a brochure with all the information necessary to light Shabbat Candles that Friday evening (the proper time is 18 minutes before sunset), the blessings in Hebrew and English, and a short message on the importance of observing Shabbat into her home.
This particular Mitzvah Tank belongs to the Synagogue of Inverrary Chabad and on the holiday of Sukkot, it has an attached “Sukka Mobile” as seen in the photo.
The Mitzvah Tank isn’t a new idea, it all started in 1974 when Lubavitcher Rebbe Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson spearheaded this outreach campaign in Brooklyn, New York. The campaigned tried to counter the foreseen assaults on Jewish life such as assimilation, addiction, despair and indifference, thus cultivating a sense of purpose for many Jews. The volunteers who staffed these roving islands of hope shared their knowledge of Judaism and began assisting individuals and strengthening communities, filling a spiritual void for many.
Interested in the Synagogue of Inverrary Chabad? Their website is: www.chabadftlauderdale.com
Tamarac also has their own Chabad: Chabad-of-Tamarac