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With Just One Mitzvah, Two Jewish Women Are Helping Israel

It all began as an idea between two best friends, Briana Bayar and Jessica Golriz Hyam.
[additional-authors]
November 8, 2023
L to R: Briana Bayar, Charlene Aminoff, and Jessica Hyam

It all began as an idea between two best friends, Briana Bayar and Jessica Golriz Hyam. Their vision was to inspire Jewish women to engage in mitzvahs, fostering a stronger connection to God and providing strength to confront the escalating wave of antisemitism following the terror attack in Israel. So, they sent an invite for women in the community to join them in an event titled: “Just One Mitzvah” at Nessah Synagogue in Los Angeles. An astounding 700 women attended it.

“We felt we needed to do an event like this now because everyone has been hurting and felt a yearning to do something to help.” – Briana Bayar

“We felt we needed to do an event like this now because everyone has been hurting and felt a yearning to do something to help,” Bayar said. “Many donated money, gear for the IDF, et cetera to physically help. We recognized that we wanted to help spiritually also and by getting each person to take on Just One Mitzvah it would be merit for them and also for all of Israel. We know that ‘Mitzvah Goreret Mitzvah,’ one mitzvah leads to another mitzvah. It’s so beautiful that we can accumulate spiritual ammunition for our soldiers and nation to be able to withstand the battles on the field and even against all antisemitism worldwide.”

The event included words from Rabbanit Nava Ben Moshe and Charlene Aminoff, who came from New York. They focused on prayer, singing and the reinforcement of faith.

“The day after, my inbox was flooded with messages from numerous women, expressing gratitude and affirming their commitment to perform one mitzvah each day,” Bayar said. 

Bayar, an Orthodox mother of four, emphasized that a mitzvah could be of any kind, and recommended taking gradual steps when incorporating new mitzvah practices into one’s daily routine. 

“It could be as simple as reciting the ‘Shema’ daily or visiting the sick,” she said. “These acts can be personal or community oriented. By taking on just one mitzvah, we elevate ourselves.”

Bayar grew up in a traditional household with a strong love for Judaism. Her journey towards increased observance commenced during her teenage years after participating in the NCSY (National Conference of Jewish Youth) group. She then transitioned from a non-religious private school to a Jewish Orthodox high school.

L to R: Briana Bayar and Jessica Hyam

“For me, Judaism is a continuous journey,” she said. “Taking on a mitzvah involves taking small steps so as not to feel overwhelmed. My personal journey took years. There’s always room for growth in Judaism, always more mitzvahs to embrace. I question things until they make sense, and the more I discover, the more connected I feel to Judaism. Its truth is completely clear to me. In times of conflict, there’s a natural inclination to draw closer to Judaism, as people recognize it in their hearts as the truth.”

Each participant at the recent event received a swag bag containing items such as a scarf from Golriz Hyam’s store, The Little Tichel Lady, yahrzeit candles and a Nishmat Kol Chai (Jewish prayer) card. 

Bayar, who works as a nurse, encountered uncomfortable situations at her workplace where colleagues openly displayed support for Palestinians, and a doctor made insensitive comments with the full knowledge that Bayar is an Orthodox Jewish woman. She experienced hostility that left her feeling isolated. Nevertheless, she is resolute about proudly wearing her Star of David necklace. 

She said, “I feel almost compelled to wear it and exhibit pride in my religion, regardless of the ongoing rise in antisemitism.”

For more on One Mitzvah, please visit: onemitzvah.org.

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