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Think Out Loud

1000 Mitzvahs

Pete Springer/OPB

Linda Cohen didn’t always have such a great relationship with her dad. As a teen, she rebelled by leaning heavily into Judaism, something her father had previously rebelled against with his own parents. (Not only did he reject keeping kosher, he even raised pigs on his farm.) But years later, when her father became ill with lung cancer, they were able to heal the rifts between them and become close in a new way. After he died, Cohen says she took her overwhelming grief and embarked on a journey to honor his memory. She decided to perform 1000 mitzvahs (which is essentially a good deed in Judaism.) She thought it might take her a year, but finding 1000 acts of kindness worthy of being a mitzvah took more than twice as long. She documented her project with a small blog, which eventually grew as more people found it and became inspired.

Cohen says that while small mitzvahs like changing the toilet paper (hey, it counts!) didn’t transform her life, the process of actively seeking out opportunities for good deeds absolutely did. She joins us to talk about her book that resulted, 1000 Mitzvahs.

Are mitzvahs, or the idea of performing acts kindness, part of your life? What mitzvahs have you given, received or witnessed recently? What questions do you have about this journey of 1000 mitzvahs?

Editor’s Note: Check out the follow-up video interview Linda Cohen did with OPB’s Arts & Life here.

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