In the News

Sep. 27, 2018

Virtual Sukkahs House Jewish Values

This article originally appeared in The Jewish Week on September 26, 2018.

By Amy Sara Clark

Perhaps more than any other Jewish holiday, Sukkot lends itself to social activism. Its symbolism is drawn from the period of Jewish history when the People of the Book were refugees, fleeing slavery and crossing the desert in search of better lives for their children; in addition, the sukkah provides a daily reminder of the fragility of human life and the protection God gave the Jews while they were living in impermanent huts and searching for the Promised Land.

Repair the World, a nonprofit that inspires millennials to improve the world by engaging in “meaningful service experiences rooted in Jewish values, learning, and history,” according to its website, launched the #MySukkahStandsFor campaign to allow Jews who might not normally build a sukkah build a virtual one that reflects their social concerns.

“A lot of the work that we do is trying to figure out how to connect with people online to move them towards offline social action,” Laura Belinfante, the group’s director of digital campaigns, told The Jewish Week. “Someone came up with the idea of building a sukkah without walls. We know that a lot of our constituents don’t have either the outdoor space or the financial resources to build a sukkah,” she said, but she was pretty sure that “this idea that you can build a virtual one online to invite people in” and have it stand for an issue that’s important to you would be appealing.

“I think right now we’re in a moment where young Jews are really fighting for their values, and they’re trying to show other generations what we care about most, and we see this campaign as a manifestation of that,” she said.

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