Sukkot: The Original House Partyby Leah Koenig | September 13, 2012 | 0 comments
This post was created in partnership with NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation. Repair the World teamed up with NEXT’s Sukkot Holiday Guide to offer ways you can give back this holiday season. Find out how below.
Sukkot is the Jewish calendar’s official “house party” holiday. During the week-long celebration, people invite friends and family over to eat in their Sukkahs and stargaze through the roof, which is made of natural materials woven loosely enough so that the stars peek through at night. Some particularly hearty folks even sleep in their Sukkahs!
With all its focus on the outdoors, Sukkot also gives us a chance to think more deeply about a basic human need: shelter—and about our good fortune in having permanent housing. On any given day, nearly 700,000 Americans have no home in which to sleep. And according to United Nations estimates, nearly 1 billion people worldwide live in inadequate or unsafe housing situations like slums.
During Sukkot, we have a week-long opportunity to fulfill the Jewish obligation to “welcome the stranger” into our temporary dwellings. Although this custom is rarely taken literally, it reminds us to remember the needs of others in the midst of our celebration. In that same spirit, check out these resources and organizations working to fight homelessness in America and abroad:
- On1Foot – Find out more about the Jewish tradition’s views on homelessness and hospitality during Sukkot from AJWS’ social justice text database. (Search “Sukkot”)
- My Jewish Learning – Read about the Jewish mandate that everyone have access to adequate and permanent housing.
- National Coalition for the Homeless – Find more statistical information about homelessness in America.
- Sulam Center – Check out this comprehensive round up of Jewish texts relating to homelessness.
- Habitat for Humanity – A nonprofit organization that builds simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need.
- Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty – One of New York’s largest human services agencies fighting against poverty, which runs several residencies for people who are homeless throughout the city.
- National Alliance to End Homelessness – A nationwide federation of public, private and nonprofit organizations all devoted to ending homelessness in America.
- National Coalition for the Homeless – A national organization advocating for the rights of people who are homeless.
- Veahavta – A Jewish humanitarian organization in Toronto that runs a “mobile Jewish response to the homeless van,” delivering meals, clothing and support to homeless people across the city.
- Washington, D.C. JCC – The JCC runs the “Behrend Builders” program, which connects volunteers to service opportunities helping to rebuild low-income family homes, homeless shelters, and other vital community spaces in the city.
More on Sukkot from Repair the World: