Have you ever seen a Jewish juggling Mitzvah Clown and Photographer? That’s me! Sue Lund. Mitzvah Clown, Juggler, and Event and Portrait Photographer (and I’m Jewish!) . A rare combination, I would imagine. While photography is my day job, as a professional, that is what earns a paid salary. A Mitzvah Clown is a volunteer gig that I started 8 years ago. I fulfilled a dream by becoming a Mitzvah Clown. I love being a clown, and what a better way to spread smiles, love and joy by visiting elderly residents in a nursing home.
“You shall rise before the aged and show deference to the old…”– Leviticus 19:32
In March 2011, 8 years ago in this month of March, I signed up to be one of the participants in a Mitzvah Clown program run by New Jersey-based Areyvut, coming to Minnesota. As it turned out, I was the only one that signed up! The coordinator was going to cancel, but I said: this is my dream! I raised $1,000, from 10 donors to bring the program here to the Twin Cities. And so it began with 16 clowns that I recruited to be part of the program, including my son Jeremy, and a few more children in 7th grade and older, as well as many adults.
As we could not get the required number of clowns to continue, Areyvut opted out of the program. Quite frankly, there was a charge/fee for the participants of this volunteer gig, and a requirement to attend many sessions. These requirements were too much for these “volunteers.” So, I decided to run the Mitzvah Clown program with no fee, including a training that I run every year for any new clowns joining the program. There is no experience necessary to join and it is a great combination of kids and adults that do participate.
It’s been a huge success! We have gone across the River – from Sholom Home East in St. Paul- to Sholom Home West in Mpls. – and visited Highland Chateau, upon request. Many 7th graders have made this into their “mitzvah project”–required volunteer service in their bar or bat mitzvah year. We make balloon animals, sing and play the guitar, tell jokes, juggle 🙂 , and talk, visiting individually with each resident. Cheery (not scary!) clowns work together to help the elderly. We visit elderly individuals who are lonely, sad, or in pain with a kind, well visit. We take time to engage them in song and conversation. The residents always seem to enjoy our company.
When we come to visit, we bring joy to our visitors and to us clowns, as well. This program is one of THE most rewarding groups I have led in my life. For me, a Mitzvah Clown is a natural fit for how I live my life. My mission with the Mitzvah Clown Program and everything else I do is to spread joy and laughter, love and peace. I do that through serving others in various capacities. Whether it’s doing a small mitzvah (good deed), spreading smiles through my clowning, or capturing life cycle moments and nature’s beauty with my photography. I am all about bringing JOY! That is why my clown name is: Simcha, which, in the Hebrew language, means: JOY!
To read more on the joys of mitzvah clowning, please go to this link . It will bring you to a page: “About Sue Lund” on my website, where there is a newspaper article about this volunteer gig. As the byline reads: “Mitzvah Clowning offers unique ways for local volunteers of all ages to connect with Sholom residents.” And, you don’t have to be Jewish! 🙂 Please contact me if interested in participating, or with any of your photography needs. I am here to serve you!