BALTIMORE (WJZ)– You don’t have to be a Christian to take part in the holiday. Over the last few years, more and more Jewish people are joining a growing Christmas day tradition.

Adam May has more.

For hundreds of people in Baltimore’s Jewish community, Christmas has become known as Mitzvah Day.

“You look around a day like today, and you realize so many other things you can be doing,” said volunteer Jennifer Grossman. “It’s beautiful but they choose to be here.”

Volunteers flood the Owings Mills and Park Heights Jewish community centers, making everything from 1,500 winter care kits for the homeless to stacks of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for hungry children.

“We’re not looking for money. We’re looking for volunteers to help out the entire community,” the project’s co-chair, Alan Elkin, said.

As some make fleece blankets for the cold, others volunteer at nursing homes and hospitals, and many bring their children.

“I can’t think of a better way to spend the day, or teach our children what it means to be a giving person,” Grossman said.

A lesson that transcends religion while still honoring the spirit of Christmas.

Mitzvah Day started more than 10 years ago in Baltimore. It has been celebrated on Christmas the last seven.


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