Yom Chamishi, 18 Iyyar 5779
Lag B Omer Thursday, 23 May 2019
LJ communities supporting refugees at Sukkot

21st September 2015

Liberal Judaism synagogues and congregations will be opening their sukkahs this Sukkot, as part of LJ’s Sanctuary Campaign, in order to convince local councils to house those fleeing Syria and surrounding areas.

Liberal Judaism’s senior rabbi, Rabbi Danny Rich, explains: “We launched the Liberal Judaism Sanctuary Campaign with Citizens UK at Sukkot last year because the sukkah is a temporary booth and the reading of the Book of Ecclesiastes reminds its reader of the frailty of life and recalls the fact that fortune, or God, plays a role in sustaining human life.

“The Sanctuary Campaign was always intended as an initiative for decent persons of all faiths, and none, who had an interest in the humane aspect of this work. The campaign is non-partisan, and indeed the first local authority to agree to work with us was Conservative-controlled Kingston-Upon-Thames.”

Communities taking part in the Sanctuary Campaign this year include Finchley Progressive Synagogue and Norwich Liberal Jewish Community.

Both will be joined by members of the Christian, Muslim and wider communities. Local MPs and council members have been invited.

They will each ask the local council to follow the example of Kingston, and commit to resettling 50 refugees in their area.

The Finchley event will take place on Erev Sukkot, September 27, with the Norwich action planned for October 3, the Shabbat of Sukkot.

Norwich Liberal Jewish Community’s Rabbi Leah Jordan said: “The Jewish festival of Sukkot is the ideal time to reflect and take action. The sukkah symbolises that we open our homes to the needy and those in distress to share in our temporary dwelling or refuge on Sukkot.

“To this end, several of the families within our Jewish community, and in the wider community who are attending, have offered their homes as temporary refuge for Syrian families if the Council will agree to resettle them in Norfolk.

“This is a moment when we can put our Jewish ethics in to real, serious action and transform the lives of Syrian families for the better.”

Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue will be working with New Hope base in Watford, with the community’s Sukkot collection of goods and donations going to them – with part of the service and cheder focussing on the charity and the impact of the local area welcoming refugees.