Middle school students from Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains dressed up as clowns to entertain residents of the Atria Assisted Living facility in Cranford, Sunday, November 14.  The children had attended a half-day training workshop at the synagogue earlier that day to learn how to apply face makeup, create balloon figures, and engage an audience.  These “Mitzvah Clowns” (clowns who perform good deeds or “mitzvahs”) will provide entertainment throughout the year at sites such as nursing homes, hospitals, and centers for ill or special needs children.  Congregation Beth Israel has been training Mitzvah Clown troupes annually for nearly a decade.