The Mitzvah Initiative

Born out of Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen's vision for vibrant, meaningful Jewish living, The Jewish Theological Seminary's Mitzvah Initiative is an interactive program that involves a blend of discussion, reflection, and meaningful text study, along with questions such as:

  • What are the relationships and responsibilities that give my life meaning and purpose?
  • How can I express this in an authentically Jewish way?
  • What can I learn about my own relationship to Judaism and Jewish life?

Within a supportive setting, participants will be able to explore the concept of mitzvah, framed as an organizing principle of Jewish life. Small groups will engage with fellow congregants, community members, and their rabbis to delve into ways that they might bring their individuality and creativity into their own Jewish lives and into their communities. Everyone will have a chance to identify and explore their own "signature mitzvah"; one way they express a personal connection to Jewish tradition. Personal reflection, sharing with others, and using the resources of Jewish tradition as found in texts both classical and contemporary will enable you to enrich your own thinking about what it means to live a Jewish life.

Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen introduces the 2010 Mitzvah Initiative program:

Conservative Jews across North America, Germany, and the United Kingdom are currently part of the Mitzvah Initiative, and we invite you to join them. For more information, please contact Jane Shapiro, Mitzvah Initiative lead educator, at, or explore more below.

Mitzvah Initiative Application Form
Mitzvah Intiative Participants
Testimonials From Educators and Students
Frequently Asked Questions